Lewis Hamilton got here into the 2022 F1 season raring to go after the heartbreak of what occurred final yr in Abu Dhabi. This was the primary time since 2016 that the Mercedes driver had misplaced a title struggle in opposition to anybody. Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time world champion, was coming again to take what was rightfully his.
Properly, the 2022 F1 season is over. Max Verstappen is now a two-time world champion whereas Lewis Hamilton completed the season sixth within the championship. It appears Mercedes had a tough time decoding the brand new laws and could not present a aggressive sufficient automotive to struggle for the title. Consequently, Lewis Hamilton had the worst F1 season of his profession.
This was the primary time in Hamilton’s profession that he couldn’t both win a race or safe pole place. Sixth place is the worst championship end of his total profession. So as to add to this, George Russell, his teammate, turned the third driver in historical past to outscore Lewis on the identical crew over the course of a season.
From being known as the GOAT by many sections of followers (and F1 Pundits) in 2020 to having the worst season of his profession, did Lewis Hamilton get uncovered within the 2022 F1 season?
What does Lewis Hamilton getting “uncovered” imply?
Earlier than anybody jumps the gun, let me make clear what I imply. In the course of the turbo-hybrid period, when Mercedes had a far superior automotive than anybody else, there have been proclamations that Lewis Hamilton was not solely one of the best on the present grid, but additionally the undisputed GOAT of F1.
Hamilton’s critics, nonetheless, didn’t agree and identified some key components as to why that was not the case. For them, whereas Lewis Hamilton ought to be thought of probably the greatest drivers of his technology alongside Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, he’s not the outright finest. Hamilton’s vastly superior automotive, they argued, had performed an enormous position within the inflated opinion of the Mercedes driver.
When speaking about whether or not Lewis Hamilton was uncovered this season, we are attempting to find out whether or not the opinion of the Mercedes driver was inflated due to the superior equipment he had below him.
To find out this, we’ll check out a few of Hamilton’s profession’s greatest criticisms. We are going to then attempt to see if these factors correlate along with his efficiency this season, when he didn’t have a dominant automotive below him. Lastly, after giving arguments on each side, I can provide my verdict on whether or not Lewis Hamilton was truly uncovered this season or not.
So with out additional ado, let’s get straight to it!
Lewis Hamilton’s greatest profession criticisms
Let’s check out a number of the arguments in opposition to Hamilton being the GOAT.
Earlier than 2014, he was a High 5 driver however not one of the best driver
If we exclude 2007 and 2008 when McLaren had one of the best automotive on the grid alongside Ferrari, Hamilton’s finest championship standing was 4th. On the floor, it won’t look that dangerous, but when we delve deeper, we discover that in 2013, Mercedes had the second-fastest automotive on the grid and completed second within the championship. Lewis completed 4th that season behind Fernando Alonso.
In 2011, Hamilton’s teammate Jenson Button was the championship runner-up whereas Lewis completed the season in fifth. Throughout these years between 2009-2013, Hamilton had some spectacular race wins and, by way of expertise, was thought of in the identical breath as Alonso and Vettel. However by way of outcomes, he wasn’t matching up with them. Was he thought of one of the best driver on the grid on the time? Probably not.
Hamilton had a number of off-weekends over a season
This level was one thing that each Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button have touched on as the important thing to beating Lewis. Hamilton tends to have a number of off-weekends over a season, one thing that you would be able to see fairly vividly for those who take a look at any of his seasons (The 2021 F1 season noticed a number of off-weekends in Imola, Monaco, Turkey and many others).
In 2016, one of many greatest explanation why Rosberg was in a position to beat Hamilton was the truth that he was in a position to reduce down on his off-weekends. He capitalized on any dangerous race that Lewis Hamilton had and all of it added up ultimately.
Examine that to Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, thought of one of the best drivers of their technology by many, and you’ll see the distinction in consistency. Alonso, particularly, was relentless all through full seasons and barely extracted something however the most from his automotive. His Ferrari stint was legendary when it got here to the consistency and stage of driving he was in a position to put collectively. It was nearly uncommon to see Alonso dropping to his teammate Felipe Massa, a driver who nearly received the title in 2008 in opposition to Lewis Hamilton.
Shedding to his teammates
Towards Hamilton, one of many greatest criticisms has been his losses in opposition to his teammates. Admittedly, Each Rosberg and Button have been world champions and thus maybe excusable to a sure extent. Having mentioned that, neither Button nor Rosberg was thought of one of the best drivers on the grid after they beat Lewis.
In Button’s case, drivers like Alonso and Vettel have been rated increased throughout his time. Rosberg raced alongside Daniel Ricciardo, Alonso and Vettel, all of whom have been positioned on an even bigger pedestal than him on the time. If you’re dropping to drivers that aren’t one of the best on the grid with the identical equipment, it’s a enormous indictment in opposition to your declare to be one of the best of all time.
Overhyped moist climate credentials boosted solely by the Mercedes stint
Lewis Hamilton is taken into account one of many higher drivers within the moist. Having mentioned that, from 2009 to 2013, Hamilton didn’t win a single moist race. Alonso had a number of moist race wins in the identical interval. So did Button and Vettel. For a driver that will get rated as excessive as Lewis Hamilton does, his file in moist climate situations couldn’t maintain a candle in entrance of a few of his compatriots.
How do these criticisms stack up in his 2022 F1 season?
Now, let’s examine how the arguments in opposition to Hamilton maintain up for his 2022 F1 season efficiency.
He was a high 5 driver however not one of the best driver
It’s protected to say that in my rankings, Lewis Hamilton doesn’t rank within the high 5 drivers of the 2022 season. If we’re beneficiant, we might possibly push Alonso out and provides him the No. 5 slot. Even then, that is one of the best slot that I can provide him. General, this season, Lewis had some nice peaks however there have been far too many off-weekends to place him increased than Verstappen, Leclerc, Norris, Russell or Alonso.
A number of off-weekends over a season
Lewis Hamilton was utterly off the boil in Imola. He went lacking in Monaco. The race in Baku was not that good, and so was the crash in Spa or the slightly common outing in Suzuka. In a season the place he went on a 5-race podium streak, there have been far too many off-weekends.
Alternatively, drivers like Verstappen, Norris, and Leclerc didn’t endure from the identical pitfalls. Norris stored his nostril clear and was constant, Verstappen had a nasty race in Brazil and Singapore whereas Leclerc suffered disasters in France and Imola. Roughly, his opponents have been on level for the remainder of the season.
Outscored by his teammate
There may be actually an argument that may very well be made about who was the higher driver between Lewis and his teammate. 3 entrance rows for Russell in comparison with 1 for Hamilton, 1 pole place and 1 win for Russell to 0 poles or wins for Lewis, and most significantly, the factors tally of George’s 275 to Lewis’ 240 makes a powerful case in favor of the younger Mercedes driver.
Lack of moist climate prowess
A number of the worst races this season for Lewis Hamilton have been within the moist. The race in Imola was a catastrophe. The race in Singapore was a poor exhibiting for Hamilton and at last the race in Japan noticed Lewis unable to cross an Alpine on worn intermediate tires for greater than 20 laps. In the case of moist climate, the sort of supremacy that Lewis Hamilton confirmed within the rain when Mercedes was dominant is just not there anymore.
Was Lewis Hamilton uncovered?
Sure, He was.
Earlier than Hamilton joined Mercedes and the crew produced an unbeatable automotive, he was not thought of one of the best driver on the grid. As quickly because the dominant automotive is out of the image, Hamilton finds himself in the identical championship place that he was in earlier than 2014.
Most of Hamilton’s ‘GOAT’ and ‘one of the best driver on the grid’ proclamations have been made primarily based on the success he achieved driving a dominant Mercedes with little competitors. As quickly because the automotive is not dominant, whereas Hamilton finds himself belonging to the highest echelon of drivers on the grid, he’s not one of the best. This analysis of him was honest earlier than 2014 and sarcastically, this analysis appears honest 8 years later as effectively.
Lewis Hamilton is a superb driver, however it’s protected to say that the 2022 F1 season has successfully ended all claims of him being the “GOAT” or “one of the best driver on the grid”.
The opposite aspect of the coin
Now, let’s focus on causes that might attempt to clarify Hamilton’s underwhelming 2022 F1 season.
A drop in motivation after the heartbreak of final season
For the 2022 F1 season, there might simply be a chance that Lewis suffered from a drop in motivation. He suffered a large heartbreak in Abu Dhabi final season. This season was alleged to be payback however when he realized that the automotive was not adequate, his motivation dropped.
Although Lewis Hamilton’s first part of the season was not nice after the race in Canada, there was a marked enchancment in direction of the tip of the season as effectively.
Fortune performed a job in dropping to Russell
It’s true that Russell scored the one pole for Mercedes however might Lewis Hamilton have carried out the identical if he didn’t encounter a difficulty on his final flying lap? The win in Brazil too had many issues working for Hamilton’s teammate. The purple flag introduced out by George Russell left Lewis with a worse grid place. Consequently, whereas Russell received the dash, Lewis was proper behind him. Lewis and Max colliding additionally gave Russell the chance to streak away.
2020 F1 Turkish GP a proof of elegant moist climate expertise
In the case of questioning Hamilton’s moist climate expertise, all one must do is watch the 2020 F1 Turkish GP. The race was a moist climate masterclass by Lewis and ought to be handled like one. Even earlier than that, drives just like the race win in Silverstone in 2008 ought to take away any doubts in regards to the means of the Mercedes driver.
Age catching up?
Arguably a very powerful level needs to be the truth that Lewis Hamilton is now 37 years of age. Whereas Fernando Alonso can proceed to do logic-defying stuff at 41, it isn’t an extended shot to say that Hamilton’s prime could be behind him. At 37, an F1 driver is just not essentially on the peak of his profession. Whereas Lewis continues to be driving at a really excessive stage, the youthful crop is unquestionably catching up and possibly drivers like Leclerc and Verstappen have surpassed him already. Ought to his efficiency at 37 years of age be used as a parameter to guage how he carried out in his prime? Would not appear honest.
Now that I’ve gone by way of each side of the argument, I might decide a aspect and say sure, Lewis Hamilton was uncovered this season, or no, he wasn’t. However what is the enjoyable in that?
I am going to depart the judgment to you guys. What do you assume? Was Lewis Hamilton uncovered or not? Do let me know within the feedback part.