Not that he’s biased, or anything.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock during this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show, there’s no way you could have missed the unveiling of what has already become the most talked about car of the year. We’re of course referring to the mighty Project One hypercar, Mercedes-AMG’s Formula One car for the road packing over 1,000-horsepower. On hand to talk about the Project One’s race-derived technology after driving it onto the stage for its world debut was Formula One star Lewis Hamilton, who couldn’t resist taking some pot shots at his main racing rival, Ferrari.
Mercedes-AMG is currently losing against Ferrari in Formula One, and Hamilton believes this can be replicated in AMG’s road cars, too. Talking to Top Gear, Hamilton made the bold claim that Mercedes-AMG can build a better supercar than Ferrari. “I’ve been saying to Mercedes for so long, why don’t you do a real car? Like, you’ve got AMG sports cars, but I’m talking about a supercar,” said Hamilton. Erm, has he forgotten about the CLK GTR supercar, i.e. the closest AMG road car to match the Project One’s performance in the last 20 years? “Why is Ferrari building these supercars? We can build a better car than them," he continued.
"We build a better racing car than them, why don’t you guys build something that takes Mercedes to another stratosphere. And eventually I guess, after I’ve been saying it for ten years, so eventually they’ve gone ahead with it, and I think that’s cool.” You could of course argue that Hamilton is biased here, given that he’s been driving for Mercedes in Formula One since 2013 and helped engineers develop the Project One, so having him stand on stage firing pot shots at Mercedes AMG’s chief competitor is bound to stir up some publicity. That said, the Formula One star does have a LaFerrari in his collection, and Ferrari has been lagging behind Mercedes AMG’s Nurburgring lap times lately.
Ferrari also attempted to make a race car for the road with the F50 which was powered by an F1 engine, but it failed to meet expectations. The Project One, on the other hand, is powered by the same 1.6-liter V6 found in Mercedes’ F1 car, that can rev up to 11,000 rpm and produce over 1,000 hp. Four electric motors also help the Project One top out at 217 mph, while 0-124 mph is achieved in under six seconds. “When you rev this thing and shift up through the gears, it’s just going to be breathtaking,” said Hamilton, attesting the Project One’s performance. "It’s going to be very, very streamlined. And then, it’s got quite a wide track, and have you seen the size of the tires?”
As for how closely the Project One resembles a Formula One car, Hamilton conceded that “there’s no road car in the world that could come close to what it feels like in my Formula One car” because of the “weight, aerodynamics, the sense of position, the thrill that you get.” However, the Project One is going to be “the closest thing” to an F1 car thanks to its sound and technology. “I think it’s really going to blow people’s minds. It’s going to be by far the closest thing.”