Hamilton doubts Verstappen could be beaten this season.

Lewis Hamilton openly acknowledges the challenge ahead as he gears up for the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend, uncertain if he can break his winless streak in 2023.

Having secured his last victory at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, a remarkable 34 races ago, Hamilton faces the formidable force of Red Bull dominating every round of the current season with no signs of relenting.

While the Brit showcased his prowess by snatching pole position from Max Verstappen in Hungary last week, the Dutchman quickly regained control at the first corner.

Undoubtedly, the qualifying performance showcased Mercedes’ commendable progress, but the Spa Francorchamps circuit’s high-speed nature seems tailor-made for Red Bull’s strengths.

Moreover, the championship leaders have brought upgrades to this race, adding to the formidable challenge Hamilton and Mercedes are up against.

With a tinge of disappointment, Hamilton expresses uncertainty about reclaiming the top spot on the podium before the year’s end. Nevertheless, he remains mindful that the unpredictability of Formula One often leads to unforeseen outcomes.

When questioned ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix about his prospects of winning a race, Hamilton’s response reflects the uncertainty of the sport: ‘At the moment? Not quite sure we can currently compete with him [Vestappen].

‘There were times in the last race when he was 0.8s faster than everyone on a single lap. But never say never.’

As the forecast predicts rain throughout the entire weekend, the possibility of Red Bull’s advantage being neutralized looms large, and this scenario could provide a chance for Hamilton to shine.

With four previous victories in the Belgian Grand Prix, his experience on this track further enhances his prospects.

While expressing his satisfaction with Mercedes’ progress on the W14, the 38-year-old acknowledges that his initial expectations at the start of the season were set higher, hoping for more significant gains.

‘No honestly, to be in a much better position than we were last year and that wasn’t the case [at the start]. Even with all the amazing work during the winter we started further behind.

‘So it’s been a big, steep uphill climb but really proud of the team. We’re fighting for second in the constructors’ championship which is something we didn’t expect after the first test and that’s really down to the great teamwork that’s happening in the background.

‘My full focus is to secure second for the team. That would mean a huge amount for everyone back at the factory and while we can’t currently catch the Red Bulls it puts us in a good position for next year.’