Hamilton struggling to dominate

hammy

Given the gazillions of words written about Mercedes AMG F1 ruling the F1 roost with ease – and that Lewis Hamilton has won the past two F1 driver world titles, it would be natural to assume that Hamilton should me making an assault on the pinnacle of F1 driver domination statistics.

In fact Lewis was set to be placed second only to Michael Schumacher for the most driver wins – in percentage terms – in a single season; then up stepped pesky Nico and won the last three races of 2015. Hamilton in fact is only joint third in this particular achievement, which for many will be surprising.

Percentage wins in a single season

hammy win percentages

Since the arrival of F1 hybrid power, Lewis Hamilton’s performance has been prolific over the early flyaway races. This part of the season became the platform he built to launch his double title winning campaigns with Nico Rosberg struggling to make up the lost ground by the time the European season began.

In 2014 a mere $5 wire failure in Melbourne prevented the Brit from a clean sweep of 5 wins up to and including the Spanish GP.  Last year in Malaysia, Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel mugged Hamilton’s imperious start to the season as Mercedes frivolously wasted tyres in the first part of qualifying, leaving Lewis with one set of new mediums (the preferred race tyre) for a two stop race.

A poor race start this year at one of Lewis’ favourite tracks, Melbourne, saw the triple world champion unable to better his team mate and trail home second at the chequered flag. Though a revamped calendar means another of Hamilton’s favourite circuits is up next in Bahrain. Last year, Hamilton out-qualified his team mate in second by a massive 0.411s and went on to win back to back races in the desert kingdom.

The significance of this weekend’s Bahrain GP for Lewis Hamilton cannot be dismissed, on a number of levels. A win here would give the Mercedes driver another career first as this would be for him the third consecutive race victory at any circuit. Lewis would then join an illustrious club, which surprisingly already includes his team mate Nico.

Most consecutive wins at same GP

table 3

*sequence ongoing, 1. No 2006 Belgium GP

To notch up this new milestone, Lewis will need to put a stop to his team mate’s run of four consecutive race wins which began back in Mexico last year. But more importantly, should Hamilton fail to score a win in two of the flyaway races at favoured tracks, this will be a huge fillip for his German rival who will surely start to believe it is possible to beat Lewis to a drivers’ world championship.

What makes the upcoming weekend fascinating is that Mercedes have opted for just the one set of medium tyres for both Hamilton and Rosberg, while the Ferrari drivers have 3 sets each. Given that Bahrain is a nailed on two stop race, if this medium tyre becomes the race tyre of choice then both Rosberg and Hamilton might see themselves spending some time staring at the exhaust pipes of Räikkönen and Vettel.

Most wins at same GP

table 2

 

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9 responses to “Hamilton struggling to dominate

  1. I’m surprised by this post a little, I thought Lewis would be zipping up the record charts now he has a car that’s the most dominant for a good 15 years or so. I guess it shows how his mindset is very different from the likes of Vettel, Rossi, Loeb and Schumacher, all of whom would happily win race and after race even with titles already sewn up. It does make me wonder how good Hamilton could be if he was as focused on his career as some of those people I’ve just mentioned are/were.

    For the record though, I think he’ll probably win in Bahrain with Nico Average in 2nd.

    • When discussing Hamilton achievements I think Rosberg doesn’t get his fair appreciation. Rosberg is a seriously quick driver (think Button, Massa or Raikkonen, all WDC or near-WDC), but Hamilton is (most of the times) quicker. And Rosberg hasn’t delivered consistently or convincingly enough yet. The same cannot be said of Webber vs Vettel (few Red Bull 1-2s even during strongest domination periods) or Barrichello vs Schumacher.

      If you look at F1Metrics model, Hamilton is ranked 12th, Rosberg (after excluding the somewhat flattering Schumacher out of retirement period) something like 15th, Raikkonen 14th, Button 20th, Massa 29th. By way of comparison, Schumacher is 4th, Vettel 8th, Barrichello 50th, Webber 63rd. Had Hamilton still been paired with, say, Kovalainen (ranked 78th), the comparisons might hold, and it would indeed raise questions if he wouldn’t smash domination records in the Merc. But given he’s being paired with a driver a fraction of a something below top-tier (also Alonso is ranked 3rd), Hamilton is puffing surprisingly well, and Rosberg’s “surprising” periodic shows of form (like end of last year) are ultimately not surprising at all… For the last 4 years Robserg has been matching Hamilton, but only just. This says more about Rosberg’s level than Hamilton’s performance…

  2. Sorry but what’s the point of this article? How does this illustrates that he’s ‘struggling to dominate’?

    Most wins by Grand Prix:

    Hungary/Canada/USA/China = 4

    The next best of the current drivers is Seb at only 3 circuits: Japan/Malaysia/Singapore = 4

    And if you take into account that since the introduction of the the hybrid formula, he has 21 of the 39 races so far. So how is that struggling? Is there a new definition to the meaning of the word?

    And to add, is this not a rather poor comparison, given some of those drivers (Seb/Schumacher) had a dominant car for more than 2 seasons? How about waiting until the dominance of Mercedes has comes to an end, before making such comparisons?

    • I know this comment has come way after the Bahrain Grand Prix has finished, but this article is very premature in the context of this season at least. I think Fortis96 makes the most sense out of everyone who has commented here. The competition in modern F1 (despite complaints about the cars we have now) is much closer than in Schumacher’s reign of domination (1994-2004). Even Hakkinen was obliterated by Schumacher at times, and Schumacher dominated at a time when he had bespoke Bridgestone tyres & the best engineers in Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Chris Dyer et al. The “unlimited” regulations of constant testing, free tyre compound rules and refuelling accentuated Schumi’s advantage exponentially. The 2002 and 2004 seasons are still easily the most boring seasons I’ve ever seen, even the screaming V10 engines fail to hide to lack of competiton Schumi had and even when Barrichello was allowed to race Schumi, the gulf in class was just ridiculous.

  3. Hamilton Will make history – both in F1 and in R’nB / Hiphop. He’s lining up his next career and I think it’ll be huge. Social media in music (gossip / fashion (!) / hangin’ out with … / doing …) is big and I think he Has enough talent to go for it.

  4. May Hamilton could dominate like others if he was also given a compliant number 2 driver. However Senna didnt dominate Prost either and I am sure Hamilton and his fans would want the Senna style over the Schumacher one
    hahaha

  5. Hamilton said what all fans have been saying for years about the regulations; talked a lot of sense, will they listen to him? NOOO

    “But personally, I think we need more mechanical grip and less aero wake coming off the back of the cars so we can get close and overtake. Give us five seconds’ worth of lap time from aero and nothing will change – we’ll just be driving faster.

  6. As I said over these pages sometime ago, increasing aero down force (what RBR was pushing for) will increase the problems of a car following another, F1 needs less aero and not more of it.

  7. your honour, you are too slow in letting post through, and still too much selective of what goes or not, and that will tend to put the breaks on this sites potential improvements as was the case before.

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