What’s wrong with Lewis Hamilton? The Briton is sinking

In the last GP of Emilia-Romagna, something happened that is very revealing of the dire situation that Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) is going through. The Briton was lapped by Max Verstappen (Red Bull) on the 41st lap of the Italian event at the Imola Circuit. Quite the humiliation for a dethroned monarch. It is hard to believe that just three months ago he was battling with the Dutchman for an eighth crown, now completely out of reach. 

Then, and after giving way to his successor, he finished in an embarrassing thirteenth place, nine down from his new partner. That was the third Sunday in the season, that he has been outperformed by George Russell, who also managed a fourth place in Italy after extracting all the juice from the deficient W13. 

The seven-time champion has had the worst season start of his sixteen-year career in Formula One. Of the four races disputed so far, Lewis Hamilton only managed to finish ahead of his teammate in Bahrain (3rd vs 4th), in other two races he had one single point and none. In contrast, newcomer George Russel has finished in the top five in all-four engagements this 2022. As a result, the Mercedes star is sunk in seventh place in the standings with 28 points, 21 less than Russell, in fourth. 

Figures aside, the sensations transmitted by one and the other are strikingly different. The racer from Stevenage has publicly declared that the team is at a loose end with their single-seater and has already ruled himself out of the title bid this year. As a matter of act, team principal Toto Wolff apologized Lewis Hamilton. On the contrary, you barely hear Russell complain beyond talking of the back pain caused by the persistent porpoising of his W13. 

Lewis Hamilton is so powerless at the wheel of his W13 that he could not even overtake poor Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri in Italy. It was precisely after that race that alarms bells started ringing inside Mercedes at the same time that criticism intensified. Seeing the once invincible F1 gladiator crossing the finish line in thirteen place in San Marino was a pill hard to swallow for many fans. 

Not surprisingly, after that performance, which was described by some as “ridiculous”, fans are wondering what on earth is wrong with Lewis Hamilton. There is no question about his talent and he can’t have forgotten how to drive in ninety days, so, what is happening? 

Inadaptation of Lewis Hamilton to the dreadful new W13   

The origin of the crisis coincides with the start of the new era in Formula One. After their eight-year reign, the Germans have not adapted well to the new regulatory changes. They were the only team on the grid to opt for a revolutionary car design without pontoons, and that has evidently been a mistake. 

On top of this is the chronic porpoising that the car experiences on the straights. In an attempt to mitigate that effect, engineers decided to raise the height of the car but this hasty solution has led to less aerodynamic efficiency and more drag. As if that wasn’t enough, neither its power nor its stability in curves are optimal. All in all, the W13 is a disaster and only able to fight in the middle of the grid for fifth or sixth places. 

That said, both team members are dealing with exactly the same issues from their silver arrows. Lewis Hamilton, however, seems to require a single-seater with perfect and neutral reactions in order to be able to show his talent, otherwise, his performance drops exponentially. 

In other words, if the Briton does not have a car designed to his liking, all of his past phantoms and insecurities come to life. His emotions could also be affecting his performance. Accustomed to fighting for victory every Sunday, it sure must be hard to give it all for minor goals such as taking a handful of points. At the same time, seeing how a young driver repeatedly outperforms him must put a lot of pressure on him. 

Images of Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes-AMG F1 Team.

Leave a Reply