Mercedes boss Toto Wolff will do everything to ensure that Lewis Hamilton wins his record-breaking eighth world title.
Wolff would even go so far as to push Hamilton “around the track” if it meant the 38-year-old celebrating his eighth Formula 1 triumph.
Hamilton would overtake Michael Schumacher, with whom he shares a record of seven championships.
However, Hamilton and Mercedes had a difficult season last year as he suffered the first winless season of his F1 career.
The 2023 Mercedes season didn’t get off to the best start on Saturday, with Hamilton qualifying seventh and teammate George Russell sixth for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
But Wolff is certain they will have more success than they did in 2022 and he will go to extremes to ensure Hamilton eventually clinch his eighth title.
“We’re going to have his eighth. He has it compared to [Aston Martin’s Fernando] Alonso, at least four more years in him, so we just have to get it right,” Wolff told Sky Sports.
“Even if I have to push him around the track to win eighth place, I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Hamilton himself was confident he could close the gap on polesitter Max Verstappen in Sunday’s season opener and Wolff echoed the sentiment, even as he conceded it was an ultimately disappointing qualifying session.
He added: “The gap isn’t ridiculous considering we only ran one tire at the end, but it’s not where we want to be.
“We’re developing the concept further and think we could land it and fight for pole position and that wasn’t the case today.
“That’s the gap and we have to find that, or more, to win.
“We could have possibly overtaken Alonso [in fifth] with both cars, but here we are. We are very critical of ourselves and what we need to achieve.
“We’re looking at everything to get it right with the concept, should we have reacted earlier, all of that.
“Everyone on the engineering team thinks that way and we just have to pull ourselves together.”
So did Russell, who said: “Our goal was to make sure we had a car to build on and that there weren’t any significant issues.
“We spent probably three quarters of the time last year solving problems and now I feel like we have a car that is comfortable to drive.
“It feels like a good car in general and now we can focus on adding downforce and performance, which the team has been doing for so long.
“There are definitely positive signs, but we still have a lot to improve.”