Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton is looking forward to his 12th and final season racing with Mercedes. Umit Bektas/Reuters

Ahead of his final season racing with Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton has revealed his eagerness to get the team back to the high levels of previous campaigns.

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion will race his 12th season with Mercedes this year before joining Ferrari ahead of the 2025 season.

On Wednesday, team Mercedes was making its first public appearance since the news of Hamilton moving to Ferrari as the team's new car for the 2024 season, the W15, was being unveiled at Silverstone Circuit.

The team's two starting drivers, Hamilton and George Russell, attended the launch as did Team Principal, Toto Wolff.

Here, Hamilton revealed the mindset he is in for the 2024 season, saying: "I feel the most motivated and focused I've ever been. I never thought at this point in my life I'd have hunger like I do now."

Mercedes is coming off the back of below-par seasons in 2022 and 2023, as the constructors' standings in these years saw the team finish third and fourth, respectively. Also, Mercedes failed to win a single race last season, with Red Bull winning 21 out of the 22 races.

Hamilton has not won a race since the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in December 2021, whilst George Russell got Mercedes' only race win in the 2022 campaign as he triumphed at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

These two seasons are a notable fall-off for Mercedes as the team previously clinched the constructors' title every year between 2014 and 2021 and every driver's title between 2014 and 2020. Six of Hamilton's F1 world title wins came during this dominant spell which Mercedes had.

Now, Hamilton is targeting a return to form for Mercedes in the upcoming season, stating: "To finish on a high with the team would be a dream. We have gone through a whole heap together. It would be the greatest moment to be able to help them get back to the top."

When Hamilton secured the 2020 world title, he had tied Michael Schumacher with the most championships. A world title win for the Brit in his last season at Mercedes, to separate him from every driver in history by having the most world titles, would be a fitting send-off.

However, it will be a tall order in 2024 for Mercedes to halt the momentum that Red Bull has built over the past two seasons. Max Verstappen will be favoured to clinch a fourth straight world title after winning a record 19 races and finishing on the podium a record 21 times with Red Bull last season.

To help close the gap, the W15 will need to get better displays out of Hamilton and Russell on the track. Wolff is confident Mercedes' new car can achieve this, saying: "It's (the W15) a complete relaunch, it's very ­different, mainly underneath. So many ­mechanical changes we've done, which we hope will translate into more performance."

At the same time, Wolff is realistic about where he expects his team to be considering how far a gap Red Bull has built over every team.

He said: "We have a mountain to climb. We were in a tough fight last season with a big gap between Red Bull and the rest. I hope we are in the chasing pack at the beginning of the season and a step closer to Red Bull."

For Russell, this upcoming campaign is pivotal as he will need to convince Mercedes that he can be the team's lead driver in the long run and compete for championships. His 2022 win in Sao Paulo is the sole race win of his six-year F1 career to date, so like Hamilton, he will be extra motivated for the 2024 season, albeit for different reasons.

Mercedes' preparations for the new season will ramp up next week when all the teams head to Bahrain for three consecutive days of pre-season testing. A week later, the Bahrain Grand Prix will get the 2024 season underway, with the race itself taking place on 2nd March.