Lewis HAMILTON is having to deal with circumstances he isn’t used to in the 2022 Formula One title race. Mercedes has been the dominant car in the past decade winning the constructors title a record 8 times in a row. Hamilton has benefited from this dominance winning 6 of his 7 drivers titles during this era. Print to this season Lewis has really qualified outside the front row and been able to drive within himself and often establish a significant lead before the first round off pit stops.
The new FIA car design regulations for 2022 have seen the pecking order shuffled. Mercedes are no longer the dominant car and currently sit third in the constructors’ title race.
Hamilton has suffered with the W13 and struggled to qualify in the top 5 during the opening 11 races of the season. This means that during the start of a GP he is no longer privileged to be at the head of the grid and now has to plot his way through a melee of cars around him when the start lights go out.
Further he has been out qualified by his team mate George Russell most race weekends demonstrating he is struggling more with the car than the Mercedes new rookie driver.
Given Mercedes F1 improvements in their car at Silverstone Hamilton and Russell were expected to challenge the Ferrari’s and Red Bull’s at the recent Austrian GP. Yet Lewis crashed out during qualifying 3 which meant the finished the session just P10.
The Tv footage showed Hamilton pushing too hard through turn 9 at the Styrian circuit which caused a significant crash resulting in Mercedes spending most of practice two on Saturday trying to get his car ready. Lewis had just 14 minutes running in the final session before having to go and compete in the Sprint.
During the short race on Saturday Hamilton struggled to pass the two Haas F1 cars starting from P9 which meant he started the GP on Sunday just P8.
Due to the failure of Carlos Sainz engine and Perez being wiped out by George Russell own the opening lap, Hamilton managed to make the podium in P3.
Clearly after his woeful qualifying and crash, this was an epic result for Lewis
But a former F1 driver believes Hamilton’s woes began with him pushing too and making ‘a mistake’.
Shinji Nakano tells as-web, “Lewis Hamilton in Q3 crashed in the 7th to 8th corners of the high speed. It was said that it was affected by the wind because it was a high-speed corner, but as far as I can see the video, I think Hamilton simply attacked too much.
“Even if you look at the Mercedes car this time, the straight is not very fast, and even though the acceleration at the corner exit is also traction, when you see the place where the subsequent growth is not so good, it is cornering by that much you have to earn time.”
Hamilton has clearly benefited in the past 8 seasons from a superior car, but now he is having to drive to limits he never before experienced,
Formula One has seen since 1999 18 constructors titles from 24 won by 3 teams who have put dominant runs together. Ferrari won the constructors’ title from 1999-2005, Red Bull from 2009-2013 and Mercedes from 2014-2021. Never before have we seen such dominance n the sport over an extended period.
The radical new 2022 car design regulations have seen the pecking order shaken up and we have a genuine battle between Ferrari and Red Bull for the drivers’ title this year.
It’s clear when a team and a driver have a dominant qualifying performance that their results are better than when they are starting in the midfield.
Hamilton this year has demonstrated that starting regularly below P6 means the driver has a multiplicity of issues to deal with that is not the case for those starting up front.
Mercedes believe their W13 car will go well at the next event in Paul Ricard ye they are still over 0.5 seconds of the pace of the pole sitter and have little hope of starting better than P5-P6 in the race.
The vagueries of this starting position lead to any kind of problems and until Mercedes can challenge for the top spots in qualifying they will for the rest of the season be looking to pick up the pieces when Ferrari or Red Bull fail.