Analysis: Has Hamilton’s slow start to 2022 been as bad as it seems?

2022 F1 season

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After being denied a record eighth world championship title in highly controversial circumstances in the final race of 2021, many expected that the sport’s most successful ever driver would strike back with a vengeance in 2022.

Heading into the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, the bookmakers appeared to agree. Lewis Hamilton was 13/8 (2.63) favourite to win this year’s drivers’ world championship at the end of pre-season testing. His new Mercedes team mate, George Russell, was third favourite behind Max Verstappen, with odds of 13/2 (7.5).

Very quickly, it became clear that Mercedes’ hopes of fighting for either of this year’s titles would be very slim indeed. The W13’s persistent porpoising problem was not just painfully uncomfortable for its two drivers, but it compromised the car’s downforce levels to such an extent that neither Hamilton nor Russell could get close to the Red Bulls and Ferraris during the start of the season.

What was perhaps even more surprising, however, was how Hamilton’s results compared against his far younger team mate. After seven challenging rounds to begin the season, Russell has amassed 34 points more than his seven-time champion team mate.

But do the results truly tell the full story, or have circumstances in races outside of Hamilton’s control made his start to the season appear worse than it has been?

Bahrain Grand Prix

(L to R), Carlos Sainz Jr, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Hamilton’s season began with an unexpected podium in Bahrain

Results

Qualified: 5th (+4 places ahead of Russell)
Finished: 3rd (+1 place ahead of Russell)

Championship standings

3rd – Hamilton: 15
4th – Russell: 12 (-3)

After the first day of practice for the opening race of the season in Bahrain, Hamilton was honest about his team’s prospects of fighting for the victory. “We’re not bluffing like people assume we are,” he said. “At the moment, we’re not going to be in the race for the win here.”

Qualifying went about as well as Hamilton could have realistically hoped, securing fifth place behind the two Ferraris and Red Bulls, comfortably ahead of Russell, who made a mistake on his final Q3 attempt. At the start, he jumped Sergio Perez until being passed by the Red Bull. He ran fifth until Verstappen retired from second, then gained another place when Perez’s Red Bull seized on the final lap to take an unexpected podium, one place ahead of Russell.

What Hamilton said:

“It was such a difficult race. We’ve struggled throughout practice. This is really the best result we could have got. Of course, it was unfortunate for the other two drivers, but we did the best we could and we’re grateful for these points.”

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Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022
Hamilton missed an opportunity to pit under a VSC in Jeddah

Results

Qualified: 16th (-10 places behind Russell)
Finished: 10th (-5 places behind Russell)

Championship standings

3rd – Russell: 22
4th – Hamilton: 16 (-6)

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend began well for Hamilton, as he ended all three practice sessions with quicker times than team mate Russell. However, a gamble on the set-up in qualifying backfired dramatically, seeing him eliminated in Q1 on merit, while Russell secured sixth on the grid.

Using hard tyres from the start, he made steady progress through the field, gaining places as those ahead of him pitted to run in sixth behind his team mate. Then, the Virtual Safety Car was deployed on lap 38 due to multiple cars slowing with problems.

Hamilton was called into the pits approaching the final corner, but appeared to hesitate to enter the pit lane due to Ricciardo’s stricken McLaren sitting metres away from the pit entry. Hamilton was told to pit a second time as he passed pit entry, but failed to do so. Behind him, both Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg entered the pits to make stops by driving around the McLaren. Hamilton eventually pitted two laps later, but resumed in 12th. He would finish in tenth place.

What Hamilton said:

“We were unlucky with how the VSC played out at the end but I was giving it everything. Yesterday made the weekend so much harder and I take that on my shoulders. It’s gutting, but we need to keep fighting, it’s all we can do – I know I’ve got a great team and we’ll just keep our heads down.”

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Australian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2022
A badly-timed Safety Car cost Hamilton his position to his team mate

Results

Qualified: 5th (+1 place ahead of Russell)
Finished: 4th (-1 place behind Russell)

Championship standings

2nd – Russell: 37
5th – Hamilton: 28 (-9)

The return to Albert Park appeared to be a more positive one for Hamilton after he ran “decent” laps during practice. He secured fifth on the grid in qualifying on his final effort to pip Russell by just over a tenth to line up behind Lando Norris’s McLaren.

At the start, he jumped both Norris and Perez to run third until Perez took back the place on the tenth lap. Hamilton pitted on lap 22 and managed to emerge ahead of Perez, who overtook him along the back straight. But before Hamilton could counter-attack, Sebastian Vettel’s crash led to the Safety Car being deployed. Russell took advantage and pitted, gaining two positions over both Perez and Hamilton.

Perez would eventually catch and pass Russell, leaving Hamilton one place behind his team mate. However, Hamilton was unable to challenge Russell for the final podium position as he had to manage an overheating concern on his Mercedes. Hamilton would eventually finish fourth, while Russell claimed his first podium for Mercedes in third.

What Hamilton said:

“We definitely didn’t expect to be third and fourth today. George did a great job – I got to see a bit of the battle of him racing Perez and I wish could have been in it but nonetheless, we’ll take these points and keep pushing. I couldn’t fight for third because the engine was overheating so I had to back off and sit behind, but we bagged as many points we could as a team and that’s great.”

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Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

An awful weekend in Imola saw Hamilton finish out of the points in 12th, unable to pass Gasly

Results

Qualified: 13th (-2 places behind Russell)
Sprint race: 14th (-3 places behind Russell)
Finished: 13th (-9 places behind Russell)

Championship standings

4th – Russell: 49
7th – Hamilton: 28 (-21)

Imola was the most difficult weekend of the season so far for Hamilton. Slower than Russell in Friday practice, he was eliminated along with Russell in Q2 after rain fell during a red flag for Carlos Sainz Jnr’s crash at Rivazza.

Starting two places behind Russell in the sprint race, he lost two further places at the start but managed to pass Lance Stroll to line up 14th on the grid for Sunday’s grand prix. After inheriting three positions from a chaotic opening lap in the wet, Hamilton fell back to 14th place after switching to slicks. Hamilton spent the final 43 laps of the race staring at the rear wing of Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri, unable to find anyway passed despite being within one second of Gasly for 39 of those laps.

Hamilton would cross the line in 14th, gaining 13th when Esteban Ocon’s (incurred when he was released in front of Hamilton’s Mercedes) unsafe release time penalty was applied. Hamilton’s race was in stark contrast to Russell’s, who moved up through the field from 11th on the grid to finish fourth after holding off Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton would apologise to his Mercedes team for his performance over the weekend.

What Hamilton said:

“It’s been difficult, but I don’t really know what to say. It’s definitely not easy and we all feel it as a team. At least George got some points today for the team, so my apologies to everyone I wasn’t able to do the same. I was just a bit of a sitting duck today. I’ve definitely had lower moments, so it’s not the lowest, for sure.”

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Miami Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Another unfortunate Safety Car for Hamilton allowed Russell to pit and emerge ahead of him

Results

Qualified: 6th (+6 places ahead of Russell)
Finished: 6th (-1 place behind Russell)

Championship standings

4th – Russell: 59
6th – Hamilton: 36 (-23)

Miami was a frustrating weekend for Hamilton, where he would finish behind Russell for the fourth consecutive grand prix after his team mate again benefited from a well-timed Safety Car.

Friday began promisingly for Mercedes, with Russell ending the day quickest overall and Hamilton fourth-fastest. But on Saturday, their pace evaporated. Hamilton managed to qualify in sixth, but behind former team mate Bottas’s Alfa Romeo. His performance was at least better than Russell, who failed to reach Q3 and started 12th.

After a less-than-ideal start, losing two places, Hamilton gained them back within six half-a-dozen laps to run sixth behind Bottas. Despite pitting earlier than the Alfa Romeo, Bottas managed to emerge from his own stop a few laps later still ahead of Hamilton, while the pair were now behind Russell who was still on a long opening stint on hard tyres.

Russell stayed out for as long as possible, hoping for a Safety Car. On lap 41, fortune smiled on Russell for a second time in 2022 when Gasly and Norris collided. Russell pitted and rejoined behind the pair, but far closer than he otherwise would have been and with the benefit of faster medium compound tyres.

Soon after the restart, Hamilton gained fifth after Bottas made a mistake at the hairpin, but came under pressure from Russell on quicker tyres. Russell passed Hamilton for fifth, but the FIA told Mercedes to reverse their positions as Russell was deemed to have broken track limits. It would not be for long, however, as Russell would overtake Hamilton legally the next lap, leading his team mate home to the chequered flag.

What Hamilton said:

“I was unfortunate with the Safety Car and I’m waiting for a change in fortune but, until then, I’ll just keep working as hard as I can. George did a great job in that first stint on the hard tyre, in hindsight the hard tyre was probably the better race tyre for today but George did well to recover from his position and we got fifth and sixth which is good points for the team.”

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Spanish Grand Prix

After a lap one collision, Hamilton recovered from 19th to finish fifth in Spain

Results

Qualified: 6th (-2 places behind Russell)
Finished: 5th (-2 places behind Russell)

Championship standings

4th – Russell: 74
6th – Hamilton: 46 (-28)

The Spanish Grand Prix may have marked a turning point for both Hamilton and Mercedes with the arrival of the team’s first substantial upgrade package of the season.

Mercedes were immediately much closer to their rivals in practice thanks to their proposing problems being greatly reduced, with both cars in the top six across all three sessions. However, Hamilton was slower than Russell in all practice and qualifying sessions, eventually lining up two places behind Russell in sixth.

Hamilton’s race went awry at the start when a clash with Magnussen’s Haas on the opening lap left him crawling back to the pits with a puncture. When he emerged from the pit lane at the start of the second lap, Hamilton sat 19th – almost 55 seconds behind leader Leclerc and 51 seconds behind Russell. He was even heard over team radio suggesting that Mercedes retire the car.

However, what followed was a drive that felt like truly vintage Hamilton. By his first pit stop, he had recovered to 16th place, then managed to gain ten more places during a long middle stint on mediums. During his final stint, he passed Ocon, Bottas and Sainz to eventually move up to a remarkable fourth place behind Russell, having gained almost a minute on his team mate. Unfortunately, however, a water leak in the closing laps meant Hamilton had to back off by as much as eight seconds a lap compared to his previous pace, costing him fifth at the finish to Sainz.

What Hamilton said:

“The car felt great in the race, our pace is closer to the top guys which is amazing. I was just really unfortunate at the start to get the puncture but I didn’t give up – that’s what we do, right? I was so gutted to lose the place to Sainz, especially after coming from where I came from. I mean, I was 30+ seconds behind last place – that’s like no man’s land. It’s a horrible feeling being that far behind, but you just have to keep your head up, keep pushing, keep going and hoping for better.”

Monaco Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monaco, 2022
Hamilton finished out of the top six for the second consecutive Monaco Grand Prix

Results

Qualified: 8th (-2 places behind Russell)
Finished: 8th (-3 places behind Russell)

Championship standings

4th – Russell: 84
6th – Hamilton: 50 (-34)

After the promise of Spain, Monaco was a reality check for Hamilton and Mercedes. Despite appearing to have got on top of their porpoising problems with their Barcelona upgrades, both Hamilton and Russell struggled severely all weekend in Monaco from the W13 bouncing harshly over the many Monte Carlo bumps due their stiff suspension settings.

Hamilton was only in the middle of the field on Friday, but appeared to have found a little more speed on Saturday morning. However, his grid position – and his race weekend – was compromised twice on Saturday when he set his first lap time in Q3 in the wrong engine mode, then missed an opportunity to improve under the session-ending red flag.

After lining up eighth on the grid for the rain-affected race, he stayed there in the early laps until pitting for intermediates on lap 15, falling behind Ocon who remained on wets. Ocon’s aggressive defending successfully kept Hamilton behind, but earned him a five second time penalty for the end of the race. Hamilton managed to use one lap of clear air when Ocon pitted for slicks to successfully jump the Alpine after he made the same switch a lap later.

That left Hamilton behind Fernando Alonso either side of the red flag, but when Alonso decided to embark on a very steady Sunday drive after the restart, Hamilton was stuck behind him and entirely unable to do anything about it. It was a long afternoon for Hamilton from there, eventually falling back from Alonso and spending the final part of the race with Ocon in his mirrors. He would eventually cross the line in eight, three places behind his team mate.

What Hamilton said:

“That was one of those days in Monaco – stuck behind other cars for most of the race and, in the end, just cruising but not able to overtake. I was glad when the rain came because that usually creates opportunities, unfortunately it didn’t play out that way and we couldn’t get past Ocon when I was running on the intermediates. It’s been a tough weekend and I’ve had some unlucky situations, like the red flag in qualifying, so I’m looking forward now to turning the page and heading to Baku.”

What’s next for Hamilton?

Not only is this Hamilton’s worst start to a season statistically, arguably it’s his worst start to a season in his 16 campaigns in Formula 1 – although that in itself speaks volumes about the calibre of driver Hamilton is.

As challenging as the W13 has been to drive at times over the start of the year, there are striking examples of Hamilton just not getting on top of the car over a weekend. Russell, in the same machinery, has reached the chequered flag in the top five every time, while Hamilton’s average finishing position is seventh. Hamilton’s pit entry error in Jeddah cost him a solid result after recovering from 16th on the grid, while his weak showing across the entire three days at Imola was all the more remarkable for how rare it is to see Lewis Hamilton be a complete non-factor during a grand prix weekend.

But while the points difference between Hamilton and his team mate is eye-opening in how large it is, it does not tell the full story. Russell has gained at least one podium from a Safety Car in Melbourne which was timed so perfectly it couldn’t have suited him better if he’d scripted it. And in Miami, Russell’s gamble to stay out on his long opening stint paid off handsomely when the Safety Car again appeared at the perfect time, leaving Hamilton practically powerless to keep Russell at bay in the closing stages of the race. Russell has undoubtedly been the more consistent of the two Mercedes drivers over the first seven races, but his six-race streak of finishing higher than Hamilton perhaps flatters a little too much.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 2022
Better days ahead? Hamilton was flying in Spain
What should give Hamilton, his millions of fans and his Mercedes team confidence for the rest of the season to come is his truly remarkable recovery drive in Spain. While his storming middle stint back through the pack showed that he is still just as capable of producing a punishingly fast pace as ever, while it also demonstrated the speed that lies within the W13, awaiting to be unlocked. Monaco may have been a step backwards but it is Monaco: A complete outlier on the calendar in so many ways.

While Baku may also be a street circuit, it could hardly be much more different from the streets of Monte Carlo. And followed by a return to Montreal – a track that has often been kind to Hamilton – all it would take is two strong performances over the next two weekends for Hamilton to transform the narrative and prove that he is still one of the most formidable forces on this exceptionally talented Formula 1 grid.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 126 comments on “Analysis: Has Hamilton’s slow start to 2022 been as bad as it seems?”

    1. “Not only is this Hamilton’s worst start to a season statistically, arguably it’s his worst start to a season in his 16 campaigns in Formula 1 – although that in itself speaks volumes about the calibre of MACHINERY Hamilton HAS HAD THE LUXURY OF DRIVING SINCE HIS VERY FIRST SEASON IN F1”.

      Fixed this last little bit for you Will.

      Lewis is one of the greatest drivers in F1 history. Period. No debate.
      But this season has demonstrated (not that it needed demonstrating) that even the best can’t overcome significant car disadvantage. And Lewis has racked up the statistics he has because he has had great cars throughout his entire career. Period. No debate.

      1. Which driver has ‘racked up the statistics’ without a car advantage?

        I get it, Lewis has not had a great season so far. But give him some more time, I am sure he will deliver.

        1. José Lopes da Silva
          6th June 2022, 16:41

          Markus Winkelhock.

        2. Which driver has ‘racked up the statistics’ without a car advantage?

          Schumacher

      2. As opposed to all other great drivers who overcame the poor car they were given? Or has it always been the same for everyone throughout the sport’s history?

      3. A car advantage that he helped develop, but became harder to overcome for his rivals with limited testing and grid penalties for new engine components in place.
        I agree with you that Hamilton is a great driver. Where some lucky moments might flatter Russell in this year’s stats, the cara might flatter Lewis’s all time stats.

      4. Fernando Alonso knows only too well how important having the right machinery is.

        He nailed it when he said of Lewis’s current plight: “Welcome. This is F1”

      5. Look you can hardly have a lighthearted go at Will for sweeping statements and then make one yourself.

        He didn’t have a “great car” in 2009. By “great” I’m sure you mean competing for podiums. And in 2012 and 2013, there’s a strong argument to say he didn’t either.

        I get he’s had his fair share of great cars – but this he’s always had the best car narrative is getting boring, simply because it’s a lazy summary and is simply not true.

        Even in 2008, at least for the first six races, his McLaren was so far behind the Ferrari’s that they tried a quirky 3 stop strategy at Turkey – just to have a chance of getting a podium. It worked, as he gave the best drive of his then, short career.

        It’s also the case, that for all his race wins and titles, Hamilton’s a notoriously slow starter. If you break down the first third of each of his season, you’ll see that nearly always he’s behind on the final points per race average.

        Yes. He’s clearly been put out with how bad the car is and it took a few races to get his head around this. After eight seasons of having a perfect car, that is entirely understandably. And it seems at Spain, something clicked in this mind and he had a superb race – so I expect more of that going forward, if the car behaves.

        But it’s fair to say, that if the car ends up been a midfield bus, then Russell will get more points – that’s simply because he’s far more used to been down amongst the also-rans, so has less negativity about this. Alonso used to be terribly sulky when he went back to McLaren – very hard for a great to be even handed about been given a dodgy supermarket trolley to ride!!

        1. You lost me at “And in 2012 and 2013, there’s a strong argument to say he didn’t either.”
          The 2012 McLaren was incredibly quick, but fragile. Hamilton arguably could’ve been champion with better reliability.
          The 2013 Mercedes won the second-most amount of races behind Red Bull/Vettel, and was second in the constructors. So by definition he had great cars both years.

          2008 he was on the podium 4 out of the first 6 races, and led the championship at that point so I’m not sure how the McLaren was so far behind.

          You are right though in saying the best car narrative isn’t true. A more truthful statement would be that he’s had a top car his entire career, with the exception of half of 2009, and this year. Still doesn’t take away from his talent though.

          1. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
            6th June 2022, 16:47

            @Jackson, your obsession with the top car narrative gives the game away. Because this narrative is only deployed in one direction. To discredit Hamilton. This obsession was not there for all the other greats in history. It was just accepted that you needed to have a great to win titles. It was not something to be held over against you. Until of course Hamilton rolled around. We didn’t have this obsession with Senna, Schumacher, Prost, Alonso, or Hakkinen. We are not getting it now with Verstappen or Leclerc. If they do well, people are quick to point out there individual talents and not just point out they are winning because of the car. That tells us double standards are at play. We’ve also seen how the Ferrari years have been quickly whitewashed. 07/08 Ferrari was a match for McL. 17/18 was a match for Merc and lead most of the season until we got the Asian leg.

            1. It’s incredible, isn’t it? The amount of effort and energy that are expended in an effort to discredit Lewis at every opportunity is mind bending! And as you’ve rightly pointed out, it only started with such focus and energy with Lewis, up to today.
              I’ve really tried to understand why but I can’t understand it especially if you compared him with other drivers, past and present, who have also won multiple championships.
              One other peculiar thing I’ve noticed is that most pundits and the media for some reason always want LH’s teammates to antagonise him, especially since Rosberg. I don’t see such a wish for antagonism between other teammates?!
              It really is unbelievable the levels of double standards at play when it comes to Lewis; but now I’ve given up on trying to understand why!

            2. Exactly.

            3. …, it only started with such focus and energy with Lewis, up to today.

              That’s not true. I grew up around devote F1 enthusiasts and I cannot count the amount of ‘debates’ that involved Fangio (just to name one driver) that involved him being ‘lucky’ to get great cars. I’ve heard it for more than 40 years, I’ve made the claim countless times on multiple drivers (Schumacher, Vettel, Prost, Senna.)

              This is your recency bias, you believe it’s nefarious and targeted to Hamilton alone, but Lewis is the recent dominant driver, it will soon move on to Max, Charles, etc.

              People HATED Vettel, Senna, Prost, Hunt, Lauda, Hill, Villeneuve with burning passion, hell poor old Button had half a season with a great car, he is loathed for it. Rosberg is laughed about as a joke still.

              There are many, many layers of mental gymnastics applied to worship of drivers and teams, people will find any reason to dismiss a great performance, but if you look for skin colour as the primary reason, you are missing the larger reasoning.

          2. LOL!! Red Bull won that title by by more than 200 points. Rosberg and Hamilton both managed a mere 8 podiums between them with just one win each.

            Also, lots of knowledgeable F1 experts praised Hamilton’s 2012 performance, arguing that the car had gone backwards from the previous two years, which of course is one of the reasons Hamilton left.

            And he’s not “had the top car his entire career, with the exception of half of 2009”

            2007 – Ferrari was equal

            2008 – Ferrari was better at the start and in hot conditions. In the cooler / wet the McLaren was better, but note that might be because of Hamilton and Kimi seemed to lack interest that year.

            2009 – Poor for half of 2009. Not as good as the top 2 (RB/Bar) for the rest.

            2010/11 – RB and Ferrari’s were better, albeit it only marginally. Hamilton was terrible in 2011, his worst driving performance year.

            2012 – A deteriorating McLaren was really no match for the RB or Ferrari

            2013 – The Merc was Far inferior to the RB

            2014-16 – Merc easily the best

            2017/18 – Ferrari arguably better or at least as good. Put the Max of today in that Ferrari (or the Lewis of anytime) and they would win at least one of those.

            2019-20 – Merc the best. But only after Ferrari were caught with their pants down, with regards to their engine

            2021 – Equal with Max’s RB, so yes ‘top car’

            Note, these aren’t my opinions, but simply the general comments by better qualified people that you or I at the time. For instance in 2017, Seb blew it at Singapore and in 2018 at his home race. Indeed since the Germany crash, he’s never been the same since.

            So no, it’s not always been the top car. Granted, he’s nearly always had a competitive one.

            1. Hamilton was by far and away the best driver in 2012. He should’ve been champion without the reliability issues and stupid team mistakes e.g. Spain qualifying, multiple pitstop issues. The 2012 car, might I add, was ranked as the fastest that year by this very website. Without issues, they easily finish second in the WCC, maybeeee win it at a push (easily if Button pulled his finger out)

              Also, I never said “the” top car, I said “a” top car. Everyone’s definition is different, but I personally call a car that manages top 3 in constructors and multiple wins on pace as a top car. Which he didn’t have for half of 2009, and this year as it stands.

            2. As a close follower of F1 since 2006, I subscribe to everything you said. Indeed people who try to diminish Lewis’ achievements with the low-resolution and malicious ‘best car’ narrative, are not only historically and factually wrong, but deliberately trying to smear the image of the 7-time champ.

              There are by now several accounts in podcasts and interviews of people who worked with Lewis at different stages of his career, who can attest to his talent and speed. And that, anyone who followed the sport closely, could confirm.

        2. @banbrorace “but this he’s always had the best car narrative is getting boring, simply because it’s a lazy summary and is simply not true” – This he’s the GOAT narrative is getting boring, simply because it’s a lazy summary and is simply not true, – Team sport, Team results.

          1. He’s at least statistically the GOAT. There’s no way around that, no matter how you dislike him. And it’s impossible to fairly compare drivers from different generations and eras of the sport, so the GOAT debate will never be settled. People need to learn to accept that there can be multiple GOATs for the different eras of F1. Ricciardo and Vettel are good examples of how one can go from hero to zero when the circumstances change, so there’s no guarantee that a Fangio, a Prost or a Senna would be champions today. Vettel was the wunderkind until 2014. Daniel dominated him that season, and look where he is now against Norris. Look at Schumacher, he was the undisputable GOAT, but look what happened at Mercedes. Nico beat him consistently. Then against Hamilton, Nico had to sweat blood to manage to beat him, with some help from unreliability. Many talk about Alonso, how great he is, which is true. But then we know how rookie Hamilton was a match for the reigning double world champion, especially after getting equal treatment at McLaren. So, any attempt to deprive history from nuance won’t do justice to the facts and to the sportsmen.

            1. Statistically he is the Most Successful. 100% – Most Successful is very different to GOAT. GOAT is simply a non argument as it can never be quantified, way too many variables.

          2. Until you brought it up, I’ve seen no mention of the GOAT.

            In fact in fairness to this forum and it’s various discussions – I rarely see it brought up.

            I certainly haven’t as it’s impossible to say. Put Alonso in the same car at Lewis and he’s probably winning all the titles he has – although I’d argue that Hamilton was a genius in 2018.

            However, he’s certainly up with the best and whilst I agree he’s been poor (by his standards) he deserves a bit more respect than what those, who would like to pretend he’s only been good because of the car, give him.

            1. The GOAT argument always comes up, and the Ham supporters are very adamant that he is the GOAT. an unsolvable argument as I have said before. There are way too many variables in that argument. He is 100% the MOST SUCCESSFUL and would certainly be a strong contender for GOAT if it could be quantified somehow. But it can’t. A portion everyone’s success is due to the equipment and the team. How much that influenced their results simply can’t be answered.

        3. But it’s fair to say, that if the car ends up been a midfield bus, then Russell will get more points – that’s simply because he’s far more used to been down amongst the also-rans, so has less negativity about this.

          Not only that, but Russell is far more used to driving a bad car. This year’s Merc will still be a massive step forward for Russell, whereas it’s a massive step backwards for Hamilton. If you are used to driving a Supercar and are handed a Ford Focus ST, you’ll find it slow and struggle to drive it quickly. If you’ve been driving a little one litre Corsa, the Focus will feel amazing and you’ll find it much easier to drive it quickly.

          1. And here I thought that what makes a great driver is his ability to produce a great drive with whatever material he gets. This means first and foremost being able to beat another person that has the same material.

      6. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
        6th June 2022, 16:17

        @aussierod, We know what you’re trying to do. People like yourself who go on incessantly pointing out Hamilton’s car advantage are on a discredit campaign. It’s that simple.

        1. People like us do this because of the incessant campaign by the hardcore (albeit minority) section of Hamilton fans who for years have discredited anyone who challenges him. Rosberg copped it (albeit he wasn’t totally innocent), Vettel copped booing and vitriol online until he was in a slower car, then all those fans started to like him. Now Verstappen cops the same crap! As I said with Rosberg, the others haven’t been without their controversial acts, but the hate brigade is blindingly obvious from large amounts of fans. Anyone who doesn’t like Hamilton on social media, 9 times out of 10, is automatically labelled as a racist individual. Might I add though, there’s an identical group of Verstappen fans that are the same. It’s honestly disgusting reading some of the crap that comes from them.

          The Sky Sports bias that is constantly pushed doesn’t help either. Yes, it’s the British coverage and there’s nothing wrong at all with supporting your compatriot, but Sky is the WORLD broadcaster. It really should be toned down.

          In saying all of this, you would have to be stupid or incredibly ignorant to not have Hamilton as a top 3, 5 at a stretch, driver of all time. He has so many drives for the ages throughout his career, and you quite simply don’t win 7 championships without such a high level of talent.

          1. The Sky Sports bias that is constantly pushed doesn’t help either. Yes, it’s the British coverage and there’s nothing wrong at all with supporting your compatriot, but Sky is the WORLD broadcaster. It really should be toned down.

            I think Sky just focus a lot of attention on the top driver & team. Look at this year’s coverage: It is completely Red Bull focussed, and they spend an inordinate amount of time speaking to Horner.

      7. Can’t say I disagree with that assessment. In F1 the car is the dominant ingredient. However there have been notable exceptions when great drivers could drive the wheels off bad cars and get results. Off the top of my head Gilles Villeneuve in ’80 and ’81, Senna in ’84 and ’93, Schumacher in ’96 and Alonso in ’12. I’m sure there’s other names I’ve forgotten to mention. So I think it’s disappointing that we’re not seeing Hamilton grabbing it by the scruff of the neck and getting some results out of it. I think we saw a hint of it in Spain, but for the most part I think maybe he’s let his head drop. Here’s hoping we see some of that fire from Hamilton over the rest of the season. The funny thing is apart from Sakhir ‘2020 this is the best car Russell has ever had statistically, and the worst Hamilton has ever had.

        1. Laughable you leave off Hamilton’s 2010 performance (when on here Keith gave him driver of the year).

          And I haven’t even mentioned 2009, where somehow he got two wins from that terrible McLaren or 2012, where he was arguably better than his 2nd best every year 2010. For me Hamilton’s best drives have been 2018, 2010 and 2012.

        2. Not quite. The worst car he had was the 2009 car and he really did do marvellous things with that car.
          Also the 2008 car was statistically the 3rd fastest car with both Ferrari and BMW faster if you look at results. The gap between the 3 was very close this year but considering McLaren qualified on the back row at first GP in 09 and 08 Kovi managed only 7th in constructors it’s easy to forget what Hamilton has done in the past with a difficult car.
          Age catches up with all and Lewis has spent many years tuning the car to his liking after a difficult 2011 where he spent the year driving the wheels off the car and it really didn’t work in his favour and since then he has prioritised set up and car for race over 1 lap pace.

          So far this season out of the pace difference has been normally in Hamiltons favour in race pace. I think Russell has earned his reputation as a man quick over 1 lap. With Hamilton 37 1 lap edge fades a little. Given the gaps have been so close if you look at the race charts you can see the stint speed is still in Hamiltons favour.

          1. Great point about his setting up or race pace vs qualifying.

      8. As opposed to Fangio, Brabham, Stewart, Lauda, Piquet, Senna, Prost, Schumacher and Vettel, who all had second-rate cars that they miraculously hauled across the finish line by sheer force of will?

        Yes, the cars have to be good. And Hamilton has had bad cars, which he made look good (compare Button & Hamilton in 2012)– or the two wins he managed to wring out of the MP4-24.

        But ALL F1 champions have had good cars. You might have Jame Hunt winning a race because his team didn’t know how to set the car up for the wet, but that’s the exception.

        Claiming Hamilton is only successful because of his cars is disingenuous at best, and borderline bigotry at worst.

        Hamilton is still one of the few drivers who’s won a driver’s championship without his team winning the Constructor’s championship**, and he’s the only driver who’s had a pole position and a win every season of F1, (and GP2, and Formula 3, and Formula UK….).

      9. Despite continuous efforts by many to elevate Lewis to a super level status it is actually all quite simple: Lewis is just as bad or good as previous champions. They all need a race winning car to become a champion since F1 is not an equal machinery class. Lewis just has more WDCs than others since he lucked into a longer domination streak. It has nothing to do with him being a goat or whatever. I just wish this site would stop the rabble-rousing (and in the process try to negatively frame non UK drivers) and return to its f1fanatics days.

        1. If you ignore 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2017 and 2018 – then you might have a point.

          I think you need to understand that this is a board where we get (largely) well thought out intelligent comments – not the kind of sweeping statements you give, whenever judging Hamilton.

          1. There is no need to get personal. We’ve all seen the domination of the car and all the 1-2 finishes of the team year on year. Putting things in perspective is not the same as attacking Hamilton. He is a well deserved WDC. Just putting his tally into perspective here.

    2. I always thought Russell would give Hamilton a hard time this season. But he’s blowing Hamilton out of the water. The 7 titles are protecting Hamilton from harsh judgment and the finger is being pointed at the car not being good enough or other drivers blocking or hitting him. But in reality he has had the same or better pace than Russell, but screwed up his own qualifying which has hindered him.
      I’m sure Merc will provide him a car he is comfortable with eventually. But it makes you think. He has never had to drive a midfield car in F1. Always being provided a car that was able to fight for a win at some point in the season.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        6th June 2022, 13:21

        I would say Russell has been just slightly better than Hamilton this season. I think Hamilton’s best moments have been better than Russel’s (his pace in spain for example) and hamilton has also certainly had worse luck. Russell has in fact had good luck come to him in about half the races this year.

        hamilton has had lower lows than Russell too. He underperformed in qualifying in Monaco which is not the first time he’s done this. Same was the case in saudi arabia.

        But on the whole, lots of good luck has gone to russell and lots of bad luck has gone to Hamilton. Russell has been better, (which is great for him) but Hamilton hasn’t been that far off. The performance different between the pair is certainly not as big as you are making it look.

        1. So far this year, I would rank George Russell as the 4th best driver and Lewis Hamilton as the 7th best. As you say, Russell has been better but not by a huge amount, and the points tally makes Hamilton look worse than he has been. Imola and Jeddah were extremely poor weekends, but apart from that Hamilton has probably been marginally better than Russell.

      2. José Lopes da Silva
        6th June 2022, 16:43

        Heikki Kovalainen finished the 2009 season in 12th place scoring 22 points and 4th as a best result.

      3. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
        6th June 2022, 16:58

        @lejimster82 sounds to me you know perfectly well why Rus ahead but choosing to bury your head in the sand. When the two drivers are qualifying within a tenth of each other, it would be foolish to say one is blowing the other out of water. Montoya pointed out exactly what is going on. Rus is great at qualifying but Ham has been quicker in race pace. Anyone who has watched the season knows the reason for the points disparity between the two so I won’t waste time stating the obvious.

      4. He has never had to drive a midfield car in F1

        How we can deal with people with so poor grasp of F1 recent history like that?

        1. I’ve been watching F1 since the late 90’s. Hamilton has had a car capable of challenging for wins *every* year. His weakest cars were the McLaren MP4-24 in 2009 which was horrible at the start of the season, by the second half of the year they had developed it to be capable of winning races and he was a regular on the podium.
          The Mercedes F1 W04 of 2013 wasn’t able to touch the RB9 it’s true, but Nico still had 2 wins and Hamilton 1 win that season. That’s certainly not what I call a midfield car. Maybe your definition of midfield and mine are different?

          1. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
            6th June 2022, 18:25

            You’re taking a lot but saying nothing if you know what I mean. If he had a car capable of winning but didn’t get the win like we are seeing with Sainz, then you might have a point to make. But since he did get the wins as you expected then he did his job. Also having a car capable to collecting the odd victory here and there under the right circumstances does not make you a title contender. If you’re off the pace by 5 tenths or 1 second doesn’t matter. If you’re 5 tenths slower, you’re out of contention by the opening stint. Which is what we’re seeing in 2022. Within 5-10 laps the RBs and Ferraris are out of reach. Just like Ham and Ros used to check out. And no one expected the RBs or Ferrari drivers to take the fight to them. However, people for some reason expect Ham to be fighting the front runners with a car that is 5 tenths down and if he can’t do it then he is overrated. Talk about having your cake and eating it!

          2. Twice is a regular on the podium? Interesting.

            1. Sorry. Misread, no edit. *sigh*

      5. He has been incredibly fortunate throughout his career indeed. Still a great driver, for sure. But there are a number of drivers in the current field that have no problems at all matching his performance when given the same material. Without wanting to do away with his achievements the bubble will burst this year and some will have to put away their tinted glasses. Again not saying he does not deserve his status as a WDC, but elevating him to a superstar status based on his tally is just not willing to see the overall picture here and a bit insulting to drivers of the past as well.

    3. I think the mental effect from Abu Dhabi 2021 has taken its toll, just like 2008 did to Massa. In essence he’s been Massa’d and its eaten his confidence. He needs a top car again or its career over in my opinion.

      1. A plausible scenario, something I had never thought about.

      2. Nikos (@exeviolthor)
        6th June 2022, 13:33

        I think that Massa’s drop in form may be more because of his head injury rather than the way he lost in 2008.

      3. That stacks up, if we ignore his Barcelona comeback. Outside of the top 2, it’s harder to think of a better performance this season and I’d argue it’s up there as the best.

        If he’s mentally washed up, he’s not getting any higher than around 14th.

      4. Lewis Hamilton HAS a top car. Mercedes is the 3rd quickest car on the grid. He simply isn’t able to drive it fast enough or as fast as Russell.

        “I think the mental effect from Abu Dhabi 2021 has taken its toll, just like 2008 did to Massa”
        Say what?! You’re comparing an actual brain injury (!) to a….. to a feeling of disappointed?!

        1. The brain injury was 2009, the loss at the last second was 2008, and “Alonso is faster than you” (which is really what did Massa in) was 2010, I believe.

      5. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
        6th June 2022, 16:24

        @Ryan F, why do you need to invent reasons why he’s not winning when we know for sure what the reasons are? The Merc has been 5 tenths to a second off pace depending on track. Spare is your agenda driven narrative and just look at the facts.

      6. You keep thinking that, and explain Barcelona.

        Hamilton’s car is crap to drive, and he’s been unlucky.

        He may be a bit undermotivated at the moment as well.

    4. While there’s no doubt that Russell has been more consistent that Hamilton, so far, Hamilton has had the larger share of bad luck. Especially in Miami and Australia. Honestly, if it wasn’t for badly timed safety cars, he would be significantly closer to Russell and people here wouldn’t be constantly questioning how good Lewis really is.

      I think as the season rolls on and the luck quotient gets negated, we’ll see Hamilton getting really close to Russell on points.

      1. I wouldn’t put it all down to bad luck. George seems to have a better awareness and race craft in my opinion. In Miami George was telling the team what he wanted to do while Lewis sounded lost, probably a symptom from years of cruising at the front and not having much threat from behind.
        Also at Jeddah, as well as going for the wrong setup Lewis hesitated to come into the pits and cost himself points while others pitted no problem.

      2. @todfod Agree, Russell has been having a better season so far. I think it’s a combination of elements that is effecting Hamilton’s performance (lack of) this season and can be partially blamed with his chassis set-up & engineer, Russell does have the same car but Russell’s looks better on the track, not by much but enough and has some some better luck. I would guess Hamiltons engineer and Hamilton himself are struggling on how to go about taming the set up and still go fast. The new car is very different now than they’ve been use to and I think Ham’s engineer is out of sync on setting up this car for Ham compared to previous chassis’s and Hamilton not able to handle the car well. It’s been pretty obvious that these new chassis’s suit certain driver styles and it’s a matter for the engineer and driver to make those adjustments and dial in performance for the car and driver, the rest is up to the driver.

        I definitely thought last season that if Russell comes to MB, he’s going to do well against Ham and he has but I would be very surprised if we don’t see Hamilton coming back and we start seeing parity with Russell further down the season. If we don’t, then that will be a bad look for Hamilton and Russell having a private smirk, feeling good about his future and clout in the team.

    5. Slow start? Sir Lewis Hamilton ensured us before the season started that “If you think what you saw at the end of the last year was my best, wait till you see this year”. Being outqualified and outraced by his new team mate – that’s simply him performing at his very best, GOAT level (because he is one, right? British media said so 100s of times last few years). So don’t worry Hamilton fans, THE GOAT is still in the fight! Don’t lose faith because you know Sir Lewis never, ever gives up and wants to retire his car few laps into a race only to almost finish P4 at the end. Remember: “It’s important to never give up, no matter what life throws at you. I’ve had a lot of success and for that I’m so very grateful, but it’s life’s challenges that drive you to do more. Every setback is just another opportunity to rise.” Rise he will!

      1. How many times are you going to post this? You’ve got some serious issues, mate.

        1. As many as he’s thoroughly beaten by his team mate.

          1. Cool, just wondering how many times you want to look silly. Go for it.

            1. He only looks silly in the eyes of hamilton fans, it’s true hamilton said this phrase and it’s true he’s struggling against russell.

      2. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
        6th June 2022, 16:26

        @armchairexpert, this is your brain on Lewis Hamilton Derangement Syndrome. Get help.

      3. @armchairexpert I think you do have it totally right.

        It is very hard not to consider Hamilton the GOAT, if you knew nothing about his personality or looks and just simply looked at the statistics and record books of F1, you see Hamilton at the top of almost every single winning statistic; his name is overwhelming the record books; whether you like it or not.

        When looking at only the facts recorded by F1 during it’s entire span of history, there’s no denying Hamilton has indeed set more records than anyone else by large amounts (of course modern seasons with more race has helped). And if you think he’s bad, why aren’t his teammates who had been driving the same car beat Ham more often and do they have the same amount of records (only Rosberg did better, only 1 season but barely)? And who else in F1 has won the WDC with two different teams? Maybe it’s not just the car as there’s not many in the history of F1 who’ve done that.

        It comes across as if your preferences is to only use your personal emotions and views of the world when posting, rather than using facts when trying to call things out. Making your posts just noise than anything meaningful or productive.

        1. greasemonkey
          7th June 2022, 1:39

          Wins by %: #1 Fangio, #2 Ascari, #3 Hamilton

          Poles by %: Fangio, Clark, Ascari, Senna, Hamilton

          1. @greasemonkey

            Fair point and good numbers you showed.

            I think it would make Hamilton #3 when combining both stats?

            I guess I more meant that Hamilton deserves more of the credit than what some here think. Agree about Fangio but it does put Hamilton in good company.

      4. In hindsight it was indeed not clever of him to keep making statements like that. It is a bit like with child stars, there is always a risk it gets to their heads and they overshoot themselves (despite them truly being talented). A more realistic and down to earth view on his career would be to regard himself as a true and worthy WDC with best of the best skills, but also with an incredible fortunate run in a car that dominated almost a decade. Loosing this perspective will always set you up for criticism.

    6. Lewis is a great driver as we all know. But having the best car, and not having to struggle getting the car to perform how you want it to, is not something he’s faced all that much. When he has experienced this, e.g. with McLaren in some years, he has not looked quite as good.

      I suspect that over the length of a season, the bad luck he has suffered more of so far, will even itself out. I mean compared to George. I don’t think he is necessarily going to have the beating of George though. I think it might be pretty even throughout the season. I suspect that either of them could finish slightly ahead but it will be fairly close.

      I don’t see Merc seriously challenging for either championship from where they are now. Given a really competitive car again though in 2023 or later, I think Lewis could be WDC again.

      1. I largely agree.

        However, in 2009, 10 and 12, Hamilton gave arguably his best drives in that McLaren. For instance he has no business dragging that to having a chance in the season decider in 2010.

        But, significantly after the first half of 2009 – he was always within a chance of race wins. Even in 2013 as well. I do think the realisation that he might not win this season, would be hard to take – but at the same time I bet he still feels he could win a race.

      2. @phil-f1-21

        When he has experienced this, e.g. with McLaren in some years, he has not looked quite as good.

        Going to disagree with you on that one. In 2009, Mclaren built an absolute mess of a car… but he dragged it to some great results and got a couple of race wins that year as well. Similarly, in 2013, his first year at Mercedes, the car was probably the 3rd quickest on the grid, yet he managed a race win. There’s a reason why he’s the only driver who has won a race in every season he’s competed in. He could make the most of his machinery, even if it wasn’t perfect.

        There’s no doubt that complacency will set in after 8 seasons with a championship winning car.. but to say he doesn’t make the most of a poor car, just isn’t true. Russell is doing a mega job after spending three seasons in a Williams, so he’s more in tune currently with making a difficult car work for him.

        1. @todfod
          Well I did not really say that Lewis was not capable of making the best of a not very competitive car. I meant that in seasons when he has been driving a less than top notch car, results compared to his team mates have looked much more even. Meaning that Lewis has not always looked that much better than his team mate.

          I think this is true throughout the 2010 to 2013 period. You mentioned that Lewis won a race in 2013 but Nico Rosberg won two races in the same car. He was only 18 points behind Lewis in the final standings. This is why I said I thought it would be quite close between him and George.

      3. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
        6th June 2022, 17:11

        @phil-f1-21, it’s not pointless. Otherwise the opposition won’t spend so much energy to discredit the greatest driver this sport has ever seen. When you cede ground to your opposition and let them control the narrative, you lose! It’s that simple. Never underestimate the marketing and hype. In 2021 the F1 community, the business, pretty much the entire industry put Max at equal level with a 7 time champ. Some put him above. They were so desperate to dethrone Hamilton that normal rules of engagement on track were ignored culminating in that farce of a finale in Abu Dhabi. These things don’t happen without a desperate desire for regime change from the top down.

        1. @threepurplesectors do you have the right person/comment? Where did I mention ‘pointless’.

          1. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
            6th June 2022, 18:41

            @phil-f1-21, sorry tagged the wrong name. See correction below.

    7. What likely also counts is that Russel has the mental benefit of “winning” when he beats Hamilton; while for Hamilton there is no “win” in finishing only 5th ahead of Russel.
      Hamilton has a different incentive for trying to get the car back on top.

      1. No. That makes no sense. You could equaly say that Hamilton has the benefit of having more motivation to not get beaten by Russel than Russel has. That’s just random thinking.

    8. Until the car is in a position that both are comfortable and is performing as expected by the engineering staff, then judgement shouldn’t be passed.

      I was hoping this match up would’ve been reminiscent of when Hamilton was paired with Alonso, but that scenario was very different. Considering the reports from Shovlin is that both drivers are still “experimenting” with setups to help with “understanding” the car. So for me the results are meaningless as they are still “testing” until they report otherwise getting drawn in with the toxic comments from outsiders is pointless.

      1. +1. I’m shutting up now!!

        1. @icarby As long as you are saying that of all driver pairings and all ten teams then. I don’t think any team has figured their cars out entirely yet, and after all, we were told at the start of the season, and it is true, that this is going to be as much a development race amongst the teams this season as anything else. They’re all experimenting and testing and learning this season. But sure, there is never any need for toxic comments from outsiders, not that that will stop some, lol.

          So no, to me the results are not meaningless, as it is an apples to apples comparison going on of ten teams and twenty drivers that have brought these entirely new cars to the track for this season, and let the chips fall where they may. Good luck, bad luck, good timing, bad timing, weather, hooked up one minute, not so much the next, favouring one track type and not another…it all goes into the wash and what comes out is what comes out. This article is about LH and right now LH trails his teammate by 34 points and the WDC leader Max by 75.

          Has Hamilton’s slow start to 2022 been as bad as it seems? To me the answer is yes, by his standards, definitely. Oh there is now way LH has forgotten how to win. But we also know the car is 80% to 95% of the equation depending on the expert you ask. If the Mercedes doesn’t drastically improve and start taking large chunks of points away from Ferrari and RBR, then LH will be relegated to trying to chip away at GR’s 34 point lead on him in very small increments if indeed he does start outperforming GR. But then there’s that 75 point gap as we stand to Max and Max is definitely going to continue to grab large chunks of points. And what else matters to LH than the WDC?

          1. @robbie – Erm, my viewpoint is specific to Mercedes and what’s going on there.

            Not too familiar with issues other teams are having, but have heard the occasional whisper that Perez prefers this years Rbr to last years?

            Reason why I say results are meaningless is because they are taking gambles to accelerate the development of the car, once they understand it better both drivers and team in general will benefit.

            If the team was happy with where they are finishing then perhaps the results would mean more, but as it stands that is not the case.

            Rbr and Ferrari have come out the blocks sprinting this year, well done to them. Plus it appears all drivers concerned are not too far away from each other in performance.

            Mercedes can’t say the same thing, so have lots of work to do. But how they are attacking the problem would be interesting to hear.

            Honestly, points diff between Hamilton and Russell are the least of the problems.

            1. ‘ Honestly, points diff between Hamilton and Russell are the least of the problems.’

              Exactly!!!

              Until Mercedes have a car that can go for pole and race wins, the point difference between the drivers
              don’t amount to anything of any significance. Their primary mission should be understanding the car and
              the improving the car. Otherwise they’ll finish the season as third best, and start the next season in the same vain. Before you know it, they’ll be another Mclaren with their best days behind them.

              This car isn’t going to fix itself.

          2. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
            6th June 2022, 19:03

            @robbie, that’s hilarious! How convenient is it that you want to avoid all context and just look at the numbers. It’s beyond delusional to compare Merc to drivers to RB or Ferrari drivers. Their cars are miles apart.

            The best they could hope for is P5/p6. And that’s where they are and will probably end up in the end unless the car improves drastically. The drivers underperforming are Ricciardo, and people are bending backwards to talk honestly about how Lando has destroyed him. Vettel isn’t doing great. Alonso isn’t doing great. Sainz in WDC capable car is doing awful. If you want to avoid context, then even Leclerc and Max have had a disappointing season so far. Just look at the points they’ve hemorrhaged.

            All of those drivers doing terribly but the focus is on Hamilton. Funny that!

            1. @threepurplesectors – I don’t think I follow anything you’re saying so let me clear up what I meant.

              Reference RBR and Ferrari, those drivers appear to be not too far from each other (Max and Checo, Charles and Carlos) reference performance they’re getting out of the car, plus not too many grumbles.

              Conversely, Mercedes Hamilton and Russell, both have vehemently cried about how bad the car is; Andrew Shovlin has also mentioned numerous times that they’re not able to run the car the way it was designed which appears to be leading to other problems which ultimately affects how well the car can be driven, plus arguably some of the compensating controls they’ve put in place is not something either driver wants to adapt to as it was never intended for that setup but they still need to race and gain points. There’s been enough evidence of that from the races.

              So if people, article author included, wants to concentrate on specifically the points difference between Hamilton and Russell, fine let them.

              Personally, waiting for all concerned (Mercedes engineering and drivers) to come back and say life is good and understand truly how far away they are from the front runners.

          3. “Has Hamilton’s slow start to 2022 been as bad as it seems? To me the answer is yes, by his standards, definitely”

            Agreed.

      2. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
        6th June 2022, 17:14

        Sorry meant to reply to @icarby

        it’s not pointless. Otherwise the opposition won’t spend so much energy to discredit the greatest driver this sport has ever seen. When you cede ground to your opposition and let them control the narrative, you lose! It’s that simple. Never underestimate the marketing and hype. In 2021 the F1 community, the business, pretty much the entire industry put Max at equal level with a 7 time champ. Some put him above. They were so desperate to dethrone Hamilton that normal rules of engagement on track were ignored culminating in that farce of a finale in Abu Dhabi. These things don’t happen without a desperate desire for regime change from the top down.

      3. Why should both drivers be comfortable with the car? Part of being a great driver is adapting to the car.
        When Vettel couldn’t, many Hamilton fans were happy to blame him, but now Hamilton has issue we have to wait?
        Seems unfair.

        Doesn’t matter, I think Mercedes and Hamilton will get on top of their car problems

        1. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
          6th June 2022, 18:30

          @Chris, neither driver is comfortable and they are qualifying with a tenth of each other. But nice try with the false equivalency!

        2. Interesting point about Vettel effectively declining since the turbo hybrid era began. But don’t think it applies here the car isn’t right therefore I don’t expect the drivers to get the best out of it. Sure there will be some adapting to do as with any car from season to season but until it’s running where it needs to be we’ll have to patiently wait.

      4. @icarby +1

        I too think the drums are being banged on just a little too soon.

        After the longer than typical period of dialing in and (hopefully) ironing out the wrinkles, it will then be a better time for compare and judge drivers; right now it’s all over the place for many of the teams including for MB. I could definitely see see MB improving, Ferrari perhaps not improving above where they’re now and RB holding current pace or slightly improving. But again, things could change a lot or stay the same after learning more about the car; we (public) just don’t know. People have to remember this a brand new 1st generation chassis, wheel and fuel; unlike the previous seasons.

        While there’s already been nine races, which will be hard to make up for, but I think were going to start seeing some shifting in positions and overall finishing results near the end of the season will have a different look than what we’ve been seeing in the last nine races. It will be very interesting to see how this season ends up.

        1. @icarby I just don’t think Mercedes sitting in third, with everyone else behind them also being in an experimental phase, is an excuse for there to be no comparison made between the drivers at Mercedes. I also don’t think the article is dwelling on the points difference between LH and GR too much, and the article is also about the car not being good enough for LH to go for his 8th WDC, and it spells out where each driver was lucky or unlucky.

          So are 7 other teams’ cars not good enough, and indeed less well off than Mercedes, so are we to not talk about teammate comparisons for those teams either? The only comparisons we can make are between drivers who are more happy with their cars? To me it is still apples to apples between drivers on teams no matter the degree to which they are having to experiment and test during practice sessions and on simulators. RBR and Ferrari are doing that too.

          The Mercedes cars are more problematic. One could argue LH’s experience should have him more able to find solutions. But of course it’s not all on him to do so, it is a team effort. If GR has found something that has resulted in him being 34 points up on LH you’d think LH (his side of the garage) would also have at least tried some of the things that seem to be working better for GR, to at a minimum confirm the setup(s).

          To me it just sounds a little like you are trying to cover for LH lagging by claiming the car is too all over the place, but generally that is not anything that seems to fly. You’d think that over the years and years of analysis of teams and drivers, season after season, and if it was a thing to just give mulligans in the comparisons to teams and drivers who just aren’t happy enough with their cars, we’d be well used to that by now. But I just don’t recall authors of articles taking a pass on driver comparisons on teams that are struggling. Sure, lesser teams are compared to better teams, but the drivers on said teams are physically on an apples to apples basis no matter the level of car.

          One of the reasons Mercedes is such an enigma right now is because of the run they have just come off of for the last 8 seasons. That they are experimenting now and scrambling and are still sitting third in the WCC is to me something closer to normal in F1 rather than being some outlier that means the drivers can’t be compared. I don’t recall SV getting any allowance around here for being bested by DR in 2014 when he (SV) had his 4 year WDC/WCC car taken away from him and replaced with something with which he couldn’t go for a 5th.

          Personally I have already compared around here lately LH’s plight right now to that of SV’s in 2014. Two WDCers who’ve had their WDC/WCC cars taken away from them, with teammates new to their teams who came in feeling like they were in the best car they’d ever driver, just going for it while the WDCs are sat their fuming at no longer having the car, and being shown up at that. But I agree there’s lots of time for LH to improve the situation yet. Doesn’t mean what has happened so far needs be ignored. It’s all playing a part in F1’s history.

          1. @Robbie – The objective they have at Mercedes is to get the car operating and competing at the front. As you’ve stated it’s presently the third best car on the grid that’s not where they want to be. My interpretation is that there’s a balancing act of experimentation/testing and getting the car to a point where they can still compete and “pick up the crumbs” on race day.

            Team has already stated that with the new regulations, everyone starts from zero, so previous successes is almost irrelevant as the regulations are doing exactly what they wanted them to do.

            I’m not overly concerned or bothered with the points differential at Mercedes they’ve made it clear what the objective is and this narrative just fan flames and I’d be saying the same thing if the points scenario was reversed.

    9. Electroball76
      6th June 2022, 14:13

      Lewis is easily amongst the greatest drivers of the hybrid era. However, like the old saying goes, “you’re only as good as your last hit”. So inevitably the vultures will be out as soon as he has a rough season or two. Other drivers have made stellar comebacks in the past, so I wouldn’t write off Lewis just yet.

    10. Russell is surprising me, he was lucky early on with results but from Imola onwards his pace has looked faster than Hamilton’s, I didn’t expect him to challenge Ham this soon, that said the only reason he is able to beat Hamilton is because merc is not competitive, though that is about to change, spain showed better pace from the car and I fully expect to see it challenge for victory in Silverstone and when that happens Mercedes are not going to let Russell challenge Hamilton.

      1. If Mercedes had a good (driveable) car you would see Lewis ahead of George but the car was awefull and George just had 3 years of experience of driving in really awefull cars trying to get the best out of them. This is ofcourse a major difference for lewis coming from a super car into a car who change all the time.

      2. Completely disagree, russell is in front of hamilton in the championship, if the car is competitive to win they will not interfere, the only team order I can see is freezing positions if they’re in for a bit result like a 1-2.

    11. Could we get one of these for Ricciardo’s season, please?

    12. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      6th June 2022, 15:31

      It’s too early to tell – I’m pretty sure Lewis isn’t over 2021 and it feels Mercedes isn’t over it either judging by their abysmal performance. The only one over it, is George Russell ;-)

      We expected Russell to be quick especially in qualifying and also quick in races. He’s expected to do very well at Mercedes and to be extra-ordinary.

      Russell is also slow compared to the Ferraris and Red Bulls – so much for the new regs improving things. The overtakes at Monaco this year more than made up for the all the boring races we had in the previous years :-)

      This is not an easy season for Mercedes – they need to stabilize the car so that the drivers can get the most out of it.

      1. What? There was hardly any overtake at monaco, especially considering the early rain.

    13. Russell has been very lucky with safety cars and red flags, and Hamilton hasn’t. But luck changes and there’s two thirds of the season to go.

    14. Neil (@neilosjames)
      6th June 2022, 16:58

      It’s an interesting one between one driver climbing towards his peak and another declining away from his (personal view, other brands are available).

      I’d say Russell’s had a touch more consistency and a lot more good fortune, while Hamilton has put in the only genine stand-out performance from either of them. Not a huge amount between them, and the points don’t paint an accurate picture. Whoever ends up on top, I just hope the car comes good sooner or later and they can fight for wins rather than the minor points.

    15. Jos Verstappen
      6th June 2022, 17:39

      There are a number of reasons for Hamilton’s “perceived” lack of performance this year:
      1) Age, at 37 Schumacher was retired, Alonso was about to retire and Kimi was a number 2 at Ferrari.
      2) Car, he no longer has the priviledge of driving by far the best car, which was the main reason for his standing in the sport
      3) Team, he has a team mate with world championship winning potential which he has not had since 2016
      4) Regs, struggling relative to his team mate, but at least he’s doing better than the likes of Sainz and Ricciardo
      5) Motivation, can you really be motivated by 4th-5th places when your car was so much better than the field for 8 years where you could rack up all the records?
      6) Luck, saftey cars lost him two finishes ahead of his team mate, 3-4 loss to Russell is not 1-6

      1. Very good asssessment imo.

    16. Slow news day eh?

    17. Here’s the point i keep making. This car isn’t going to fix itself. It needs one or other driver to commit themselves to improving the car.

      Russell coming from Williams would drive anything no matter how bad and consider it an improvement. Hamilton on the other hands knows these points they’re getting is a pittance. He knows the car is a step down and the only way its going to improve is if he steps up.

      Most will see the points difference between Hamilton and his new team mate, and miss the real point, there is a lot more going on.

      https://www.express.co.uk/sport/f1-autosport/1615563/Lewis-Hamilton-sacrifice-theory-George-Russell-Mercedes-F1-news

      1. That’s just a theory, confirmed by nobody from Mercedes.
        And if that where the case, why would Lewis then want to retire after the collision?
        I think we can say that this ‘theory’ has no foundation whatsoever.

        1. I guess you musts be right. Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn must be a crazy liar. I mean its not like he knows Hamilton or Mercedes, or Knows anything about the inner working of a formula 1 team, or what it would take to address their design woes.

          No much better to believe Hamilton’s poor showing is down to him loosing form or losing confidence, or losing ability.

          “Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn is adamant that Lewis Hamilton is sacrificing himself for the greater good of Mercedes “

      2. Wait, so now the narrative will become Lewis is slow deliberately to let George shine in the future? Love it! Spin doctors take note! From Sir to Saint. You’ve got to hand it to the PR boys.

    18. A source close to a Mercedes tells me Lewis tried everything to get the W13 included in the global recall.

    19. Lets see what happens when Russell’s luck changes at some point. At present he’s done a better job and at a few races he’s had some good fortune. I’d be more impressed if he had the same lead and they had a front running car.

    20. At the end of the day all analysis and supposition aside, the results speak for themselves.

    21. Guys Russel is GOOD. Russell’s yearvso far has been arguably better than Lewis of we just look at the points. At the end od the day its the points that matter. But contextually we should examine every race and see the “why” then we will have a more complete understanding of the championship year 2022 thus far. If Lewis has had a championship winning car all his career then ALL his partners have had the same. But yet he has beaten all of them most of the time.

      1. I agree with you and shows how good Russell is then.
        Honestly this kid has impressed me so far.

      2. Honestly even if you exclude the luck factor he’s still done better than hamilton so far.

    22. Might it be a difference in race attitude as well here? Lewis seems to always have the bigger picture in mind, fighting for the championship, not the race win. That’s the only way I can explain his “retire the car, save the engine” comment, which in my opinion was the most disappointing element in his slow start to the season. George is having a go at a race and a podium. He doesn’t seem too preoccupied by saving engines for later in the season.

    23. Maybe George is just a good driver? We know Lewis can drive, but he also hugely benefited from some stellar material in the past, so even then George may have had the upper hand if he was teamed against him instead of wasting his time in the Williams? Max could also beat Lewis even with a RedBull car that was for sure the next best thing after the mercs, but still.

      1. For all I saw in that one race where russell replaced hamilton he seemed to give bottas the same beating hamilton was giving him, hence I immediately put him at hamilton’s level.

    24. Lewis does think of the long game. I agree. @mayrton it took the whole of the redbull team, max and Perez to keep Lewis from beating them. On several occasions perez was actually sacrificed just to slow Lewis down and doggy FIA rulings or lack there of in some races. If that does not indicate the might of Lewis then we observing a different sport.

      1. It is a matter of perspective I guess. I saw the total Merc team panic based on one single other car out of 18 being able to match their dominant machine during the entire v6 hybrid era. Perez was useless (luckily not anymore this season) in the support role and that single car battled the both Mercedesses all season alone 2 vs 1 and was bumped of twice by them. It all put the 7 titles in perspective and on top showed poor sportsmanship. Luckily the last race (out of many) was very questionable in terms of guidance so the total fanbase could focus on that as reason why they lost the championship.

        1. It should have been 2 other cars, but RBR decided to treat their drivers differently. One was used only to block opponents and be a wingman for their beloved crashkid.

          And the crashkid deliberately tried to crash HAM throughout half of all races, but only achieved his goal once (Monza).

          Season was very much influenced by decisions like handing out points for a non-race, not giving approporiate penalties for unprofessionell driving in brazil or Jeddah. But eventually it was decided by a race director braking the rules in the last race, for what he got sacked afterwards.

          But keep up you narrative of the legit paperchamp. The orange fans and liberty media got their desired result, and are obviously blind and/or ignorant of the facts behind.

          1. I saw a season in which Max finished all the races he finished (all but 4) either 1st or 2nd. That does not really line up with being a paper champ imho, but is a stellar and consistent achievement. While Lewis hugely benefitted from red flag situations in England and Italy, Max was bumped off by Lewis and Bottas and had to take an engine penalty in the process. The points deficit of these incidents are significant. And then there was the (unparalleled never seen before) mid season tyre change that hugely benefitted the Mercs all of a sudden. Similarly, the changing of the pit stop procedure played well into the hands of Mercedes. Not to mention the wing gate lobby they made to subsequently get caught with their own hands in the cookie jar. I agree Max driving towards the end of the season became too agressive and a penalty in Brasil would have been a better solution, but I have never ever seen a season in where a driver (in this case Lewis) received so much help to eventually get level on points, just before the last race. The season should have been wrapped up for Max 3 or 4 races before season end. It was a disgrace to see the season unfolding and despite all their efforts in the end Mercedes didn’t reach their objective, largely through themselves putting too much pressure on the circus surrounding them. Some would call it Karma. I hope we never ever see a repeat of the most tainted season since 1990. It was a low point for the sport and clearly scripted for the benefit of Liberty Media revenue.

    25. Why luckily?

      1. Luckily for the fanbase. It gave them ammunition

    26. Mercedes never panicked. But if you watched interviews with Horner, they were obsessed more with beating Lewis (&mercs) than actually winning the championship. That indicates the unwitting respect they have for both lewis and Mercedes. It was the whole redbull team focussed on beating Lewis. I say again even sacrificing their other driver. Taking parts off the other drivers car etc. That should show just how high they regarded Lewis in the merc. Why try soo hard to belittle Lewis and his achievements when even drivers and teams past and present pay him his due respect.

      1. Fully agree Horner was as bad as Toto last year. I am not belittling, I am trying to put things into perspective to a fan base that is glorifying.

        1. Just glad mayrton u give ur opinion without insulting a person thanks for that. I respect you for that. Even if i disagree with u.

          1. Thanks, likewise. I think different opinions is what makes the discussions good and the passion behind convictions makes it sometimes great (since personal), but there is always a risk of becoming too personal with passion involved.

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