Lewis Hamilton has been the dominant force in Formula One since the new F1 power unit regulations came into force in 2014. The Mercedes team built the best V6 hybrid power unit and the team has dominated the constructors’ championship for the past 8 years.
Never before in Formula One history has a constructor had such a consecutive period of dominance, which of course reflects on Lewis Hamilton’s achievements.
Whilst statistically the best ever F1 driver in terms of race wins and podium finishes, the debate continues as to whether Lewis is in fact the greatest of all time.
Mercedes benefit from unprecedented regulations
The stable regulations from 2014 to 2021 saw Mercedes competitive advantage retained through the era, whereas F1 history shows regulations on the whole are altered more regularly if only to prevent such a period of dominance by one team.
Max Verstappen claimed his first F1 driver world title in 2021, when Mercedes were still the dominant team and winning the constructors’ title. However, since the FIA car design regulation changes this season, Ferrari and Red Bull have significantly outperformed the Brackley squad who are currently just third in the F1 manufacturers championship race.
Hamilton has been significantly outperformed by his new young team mate this season and is currently P6 in the F1 driver standings 27 points behind George Russel in P4.
Verstappen race craft surpasses Hamilton
Dutch racer and F1 pundit believes Lewis Hamilton has lost some of his race craft and argues Max Verstappen is now displaying superior abilities on track over the 7 times world champion.
Renger van der Zande takes no pleasure in the demise of Lewis Hamilton but believes he is “over the hill”.
“I come back to Hamilton: I don’t think it’s cool to see, but you have to wonder if he’s over the hill,” Van der Zande told Dutch magazine Formlae 1.
“His car is less [capable], but his overtakes are no longer as convincing as before, you see doubt in his driving. Perhaps it’s a combination of age and that he has lost momentum.”
Max Verstappen just getting better and better
Yet der Zande believes Max Verstappen is in fact on the up. His move around the outside of turn one on Charles LeClerc at the recent Japanese GP was deemed ‘breathless’ by Sky F1 commentators.
F1 pundits have regularly this season commented on the relaxed nature of Verstappen and crediting it to the fact he finally has an F1 drivers’ title under his belt. This of course leads to him being even more confident in his own abilities and is the reason why he is the only driver since Sebastian Vettel to win the F1 drivers’ crown with 4 races to go.
When compared to Hamilton Der Zande believes, “Max, on the other hand, is so confident that he can make decisive actions and has a way out if it doesn’t work out.”
“ At the same time you know, even with all the good results, that the weather will be bad. After sun comes rain, and vice-versa. I have often experienced this myself and Max will also have it in the back of his mind.”
Hamilton “luck” played its part
Der Zande interestingly notes how Lewis Hamilton has ridden his luck over the years.
“The way Max is dominating this year is very impressive. It’s also funny now to see the difference between Max and Lewis Hamilton. I have often said in recent years: ‘Hamilton has the luck of a champion’.
Clearly at the 2021 British GP when Lewis tagged verstappens rear end in Stowe corner sending the Dutchman into the barrier encountering a 51g impact, Hamilton was fortunate to not suffer race ending damage himself.
Further, despite being deemed at fault by the stewards, his time penalty awarded for causing the incident failed to prevent him eventually winning the race and scoring 25 points to his rivals 0.
“That you just hit something with a wing, but it doesn’t break,” observes Zande of Hamilton.
F1 champions make their own luck
Of course Verstappen is now the F1 champion and Der Zande sees that same luck now transferred.
“You can now also see that kind of happiness at times when it matters. A champion’s luck is like being in a casino on a roll; that everything is just fine. That you drive fourth, but the number one and two collide and you still win.”
“Or you do an impossible overtaking action that still succeeds, also because people drive against you differently since you dominate.”
The relentless form of Verstappen this season suggests whenever he is behind another driver, the impending pass is inevitable. Whereas when the Dutchman’s team mate Sergio Pérez is attempting an overtake, the result is not the same forgone conclusion.
Hamilton doomed for another 3 years
It is arguable Red Bull racing have nailed the new FIA ground effect car design regulations and could dominate until the next planned upheaval in car and power unit design set for 2026.
By then Lewis Hamilton will be 41 years of age. Whether the 7 times champion has the patience to stay in Formula One to maybe take one last chance at an eight title 4 years from now is yet to be seen.
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As next weekend we are going back to COTA, let's remember 2015 race, when a wheelspin mistake by Nico Rosberg not only handed Lewis the lead, but also resulted in him winning his 3rd #F1 championship. It also gave us the infamous boomerang cap scene 😅 pic.twitter.com/0CN6THE7eK
— Simon Dau (@there_is_no_if) October 15, 2022
Disagree. He looked better because of sup-par teammates and superior cars. Now Russell is on par and Charles and Max are both faster. Lewis is still better under pressure than Charles, but Max is equally as good in that too.
Van der who?
I am sorry to hear the commentator exposite so meticulously, he must be genius. I wonder if his exposition of Hamilton is not based on the who Lewis is as a person. Maybe he should do that to some drivers who have reached retirement age long ago.
Lewis will always be the best it’s not luck the got him 103 wins no it’s skill and talent but the car this year has not been doing good for him 2023 is for him and the brackley team
So you admit that without a superior car, Lewis is … mediocre…? Where Max and Charles and George showed great things when in lesser cars.
Lewis will always be the best it’s not luck that got him 103 wins no it’s skill and talent but the car this year has not been doing good for him 2023 is for him and the brackley team
About Lewis staying in F1 longer… Already in contrast with his earlier remarks, he has now suggested that he could go on after ’23 when his current contract finishes. Personally i think his personality just cannot exist without the attention, adoration and publicity. He will try to stay in F1 as long as possible.
totally agree he is over the hill
So last season he ran Max right to the last race and only lost out on a technicality and omeone now claims he’s now over the hill in the space of a year.
Over the hill, ye ok
If you mean Max V’s dangerous and oft times life threatening driving style is talented, then yes he is extremely talentied. Also he only won/ was gifted the 21 title by the narrowest of margins. Considering Red Bull were so far ahead in the first half of the season, Hamilton ptoved himself far more talented to be able to challenge for the title by the end of the season.
Of course you mean that Mercedes proved themselves capable of completely contradict the spirit of the rules and burn through new engines, thus providing Lewis a car, even he could bring back to rb’s level
You really have nothing to write.
WHAT about Redbull team which has spent more than they suppose to in 2021.
And there is no penalty for them.
Mean F1 is run by redbull.
If that was the opposite the fine will have come so fast. George great racer but still have a lot to learn and he know that.
At his age Hamilton was already world champions.
Just because you don’t agree with something written doesn’t mean you have to criticise the author. Just make your point on the substance of the article without being abusive. Here at TJ13 we give budding writers who are studying journalism an opportunity to get some air time and develop their talents. Of course there will be grammatical and occasional spelling errors, but grow up and engage with the content debate rather than slagging people off who spend time and effort to put themselves out there. We encourage them to write opinion pieces too which most media sites do not allow. So stop being so pathetic and engage with the debate in a courteous manner.
The article by the way is based on a Dutch racing driver’s opinion, not that of the author.
Either people behave or we close the comments section.
I’ll try to keep it short, so I’ll acknowledge that the goat debate is still open.
With that said, Lewis came in his rookie season and challenged Alonso in his prime. He was groomed from a young age to end up on a McLaren team which became the Mercedes team.
Certainly he’s had the advantage of a superior car and an incredible team of engineers and mechanics.
Early on he showed signs of greatness, and even at the peak of Mercedes performance, whenever a race began with a disadvantage, he found a way to win.
He has had some of the most impressive come from behind 20th to 1st type races in F1 history, and regardless of his teammate, he’s almost always outperformed his direct competitor.
George came in and this this season and outperformed Hamilton regularly , but that has not stopped him from competing and achieving incredible results and individual races while driving and inferior car.
Whether or not you like Lewis, he is certainly one of the best drivers to ever line up on the grid, and without a doubt he will continue to succeed in other areas of his life.
Sir Lewis Hamilton is both a knight and a part owner NFL team. Love him or hate him wherever he goes. Everyone knows who he is and his resume will forever speak for itself.
Naturally, it doesn’t make sense to call him the goat unless he ever manages to attain an eighth title, which he nearly secured with his performance in the last half of the 2021 season.
In no way is Louis one of my favorite drivers, but I do respect his accomplishments, mentality, competitive nature, success, and certainly the lasting impact he will have on not only F1 and growing its brand in popularity but also anything else he ventures into