Formula One has been deprived in 2022 of the most exciting match up the sport has seen since Nico Rosberg quit in 2016. Last season was enthralling for fans of Verstappen and Hamilton and for the neutrals too. The history books are written regardless of the debate over the final race in Abu Dhabi which has left the sport with a new world champion and another on the cusp of an historic 8th drivers; title.
Unfortunately Mercedes AMG F1 have failed to deliver a car capable for Lewis Hamilton to challenge his nemesis for this seasons championship and Mercedes much vaunted ‘no sidepod design is surely soon for the scrap heap.
Speaking at the Festival of Speed, Gordon Murray one of the most ingenious F1 car designers of all time, believes Mercedes cannot just ditch the W13 “because the budget restrictions won’t allow it.”
So it appears Lewis is doomed for 2022 to play second fiddle to his junior team mate who is the only driver to finish all 9 races in the top 5 and for Mercedes to play 3rd violin to Ferrari and Red Bull Racing.
Much has been said about Hamilton’s performance this season in particular that he needs a field beating car to deliver the kind of results he has for the past 8 seasons.
To make matters worse, George Russell is handling the difficult Mercedes W13 better than Lewis and is 34 points ahead of his senior team mate and places ahead of him in the drivers’ championship.
Lewis has been accused of being unable to handle the pressure from his young team mate and Max Verstappen too has questioned the perceived invincibility of Hamilton when put under pressure.
With Silverstone up next, the media has turned its attention to the highlights of last seasons race. Verstappen had a healthy lead in the drivers’ championship and the British GP was a must win for Lewis.
Having secured the lead of the race, Verstappen and Hamilton knew the opening laps were vital for the final outcome. Hamilton exited Luffield well and gained on Max through Woodcote. He pulled to the inside down the old pit straight approaching the 180mph Copse corner.
Lewis decided to take the more difficult inside line to force Max out wide. However, the result was Hamilton’s front left wheel clipped Verstappens rear right and sent the Dutchman spinning through the gravel and a huge G-Force impact into the tyre wall.
Hamilton was punished by the race stewards with a time penalty but went on to win the race.
World Touring Car driver, Tom Coronel now reveals Verstappen sent him a secret text whilst on his way to the hospital following the crash. Coronal messaged Max to see if he was ok after such a huge impact.
Coronal goes on to reveal just 3 minutes later his text received a reply.
Speaking to The Express Tom claimed, “I have Max on WhatsApp when he was on his way to the hospital from Silverstone.”
Apparently Verstappen’s mood was good despite losing 25 points due to Hamilton’s mistake.
The Red Bull driver text his friend back saying, “Cannot cope with the pressure that guy hahaha. Don’t worry Tommy, we’re gonna beat him this year.”
Coronal explains Verstappen wasn’t angry, just philosophical about it all adding, “I tell you he never complained he was pushed out, never. He just said Tommy don’t worry we will catch him.”
Martin Brundle in Montreal observed of Verstappen he appears more relaxed in his driving this year. “He’s racing Charles differently, with more patience” the Sky F1 commentator observed.
“It’s as though he had to ‘dethrone’ Lewis but Charles is more his peer” added Brundle.
Hamilton clearly has his work cut out this season to even beat his team mate – something that happens rarely.
Lewis arrived in F1 racing a double world champion team mate on Fernando Alonso and as the ‘hunter’ he was fearless as he almost achieved his first drivers’ title in his rookie year.
Yet time, age and the weight of expectation can wear on any sports person so the question is, can Lewis Hamilton handle the pressure of a poor car, being beaten by his team mate whilst the realisation even a race win this season is highly improbable?