Verstappen is cruising to a third-straight F1 world title – though cannot secure the crown in Japan this weekend after an underwhelming fifth-place finish in Singapore – while Red Bull are an astonishing 308 points clear of Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.
Hamilton, meanwhile, has not won in his last 38 races with his last victory coming in Saudi Arabia in December 2021 – and Mercedes have not won since George Russell’s victory in Brazil last November.
Having ditched their ‘no-sidepod’ design at the start of the year, Mercedes have persevered with a more orthodox approach but remain way off Red Bull’s pace.
Yet Hamilton, who recently signed a new deal until the end of the 2025 season, has urged the engineers and mechanics at Brackley to come up with the tools to take the fight to Red Bull next year.
“I was just asked a question earlier, ‘would you rather take Max out of the equation or take Adrian Newey out of the equation?’” Hamilton said in Singapore.
“And I was like ‘neither’. We just have to level up and do a better job.
“They have done an exceptional job. You can’t fault them for the amazing work that they collectively are doing and have done. I would just want to level up all of us.”
The 38-year-old, though in the midst of the longest winless streak of his career, remains optimistic and referred to a bleak period before his success at Mercedes for evidence that fortunes in Formula 1 can turn around.
“I think people just seem to remember the seven years or eight years that we were competitive,” Hamilton added.
“Don’t forget the years before that where I had pretty interesting cars at that time. So I’ve had years like last year and this year and, of course, when you are faced with adversity and faced with a challenge like we have, collectively as a team you learn more than you do when it’s smooth sailing up front.”
Hamilton, who finished on the podium in Singapore, will be targeting a strong showing at the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend, a race he has won five times previously.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, however, will not be present in the paddock at Suzuka as he undergoes knee surgery.