Lewis Hamilton missed the opportunity to claim a record breaking 8th world title in Abu Dhabi 2021. He shares the honour of the winning the most F1 drivers’ championships with Michael Schumacher and is therefore statistically the joint most successful F1 driver of all time.
Debates have rage and will continue to do so as to whether Hamilton is the greatest driver of all time, though 6 of his titles were won in a car which has been proven on a number of metrics as the most dominant in Formula One history.
Hamilton yet to get to grips with ‘ground effect’ driving style
Having suffered the last lap defeat at the last race of the 2021 season, Hamilton then was to struggle with the new Mercedes W13 car in 2022.
While George Russell was a top 5 finisher in consecutive races at the start of the 2022 season, Hamilton appeared to struggle more with the ground effect style cars.
The new F1 design regulations saw ground effect reintroduced into Formula One which put simply means the car derives much of its downforce from low pressure created under the floor which sucks the car onto the track.
Even without the ‘bouncing’ these cars drive very differently from the F1 cars Lewis won his titles driving.
Lewis suffering self doubt
Whilst there were signs towards the end of the year Hamilton was getting on top of the W13 it appeared to be circuit specific. Further Ferrari later admitted they stopped developing their car for the final third of the season.
Lewis is about to begin his third season since winning a title and it appears the lack of success is playing on his mind.
Speaking on the Jay Shetty podcast, he says: “There are days where I do feel like I’m not enough, there are days where I don’t feel like I’m good enough.
“People can be like, ‘Yeah, but you’ve won seven world titles’ but still there are days where I question ‘have you still got it, can you still be the best?’ I’m having that conversation with myself often.”
Hamilton relies on his father at times
Lewis began his F1 career with his father as mentor and manager although the relationship between the pair became strained following Hamilton’s decision to drop his father as manager in 2010 and team up with Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment group.
There has since been a reconciliation and it seems Lewis appreciates the support of his father and mentor.
“Sometimes I’ll say something that’s maybe not the most positive. And he’ll be the one there just reaffirming ‘you’ve got this, believe in yourself’. It’s so important for people to have people like that around them. I support myself, I surround myself with other positive people as well.
Lewis bouys up the team
Lewis has become well known for his constant post chequered flag messages to the team. While some can be a call to press on, many are in the style of a cheerleader as Hamilton thanks the effort everyone is putting in.
“I think it’s all our job to lift everyone up,” says Lewis. “I want everyone around me to win, and to become the best versions of themselves.”
The hunt for a record breaking 8th F1 world title begins for Hamilton on March 5th in Bahrain, but whether the Mercedes W14 is capable of delivering the performance Lewis requires is yet to be seen.
Very honoured to receive the inaugural Murray Walker Award from Motorsport UK last night. It’s nearly two years since we lost the national treasure. I hope he’s shouting ‘and it’s go,go,go’ from somewhere on high. https://t.co/8DLroo7HfV
— Martin Brundle (@MBrundleF1) January 29, 2023