Hamilton confounds his detractors once more as Mercedes reverse early-season stoop · RaceFans

It was a visibly pained Lewis Hamilton that emerged from the cockpit of his Mercedes after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

His agony was the consequence of the particularly fierce punishment he suffered on the lengthy, bumpy straights of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, the W13 smashing alongside its bumps so onerous his again ultimately went numb.

This was the nadir of Hamilton’s season to this point. After Baku he’d been overwhelmed residence by his new staff mate George Russell for seven consecutive races. Social media’s inexhaustible thirst for knee-jerk punditry was stored well-supplied by critics insisting the seven-times world champion was completed. However simply 5 races later, how they’ve quietened.

Mercedes seem to have gotten to the underside of the porpoising dilemma which plagued them early within the season and begun tapping into the efficiency provided by the automobile. All of the sudden Hamilton seems to have clicked with the automobile, and Russell is hardly getting a glance in any extra.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Baku Street Circuit, 2022
Baku was a painful race for Hamilton

Circumstances could have tilted the qualifying scoreline – each crashed in Austria and Hamilton’s DRS failed in Hungary – however on race days it’s been all Hamilton. Russell posted the staff’s solely retirement of the season to this point in his start-line tangle with Zhou Guanyu at Silverstone, which for Mercedes had the unlucky side-effect of neutering Hamilton’s rocketship getaway on the unique begin.

Even so Hamilton had the tempo to maintain the front-runners in contact and set the quickest lap within the British Grand Prix. In Hungary too he was doubtlessly fast sufficient to win had all the celebs aligned.

Hamilton’s season has modified as if a swap had been flipped. That’s not a wholly inaccurate characterisation of what has really occurred.

Hamilton vs Russell race-by-race

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As soon as it turned clear Mercedes had acquired one thing essentially fallacious with their new automobile, the staff devoted race weekends to testing functions, working experiments on their automobile to amass knowledge. Because the staff identified, these tended to drawback one automobile – Hamilton’s – greater than the others. The experiments continued as much as the Canadian Grand Prix, the place Hamilton turned his season round.

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes; Max Verstappen, Red Bull; George Russell, Mercedes; Paul Ricard, 2022
The pair are racking up podiums now

As issues stand, 13 races into their first season collectively, Russell stacks up very effectively in opposition to a driver who represents a vertical leap in competitiveness from his final staff mate. He leads on all 4 metrics, together with claiming the vast majority of Mercedes’ factors.

However all 4 of these measures have narrowed in current races. If Hamilton continues at his current fee, he’ll flip them into the type of scoreline most would have anticipated to see between the 2 drivers.

Even so, Russell is acquitting himself extraordinarily effectively at Mercedes. His outstanding pole place in Hungary was solely the newest instance of that, pinched from beneath the noses of two Ferrari drivers who ought to have taken it, regardless of the Mercedes being no faster than them in any single sector.

Whereas Mercedes have clearly produced their least aggressive automobile for a few years, they will have few complaints over how effectively their drivers are utilizing it.

Hamilton vs Russell season abstract

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Hamilton vs Russell qualifying efficiency

Unrepresentative comparisons omitted. Damaging worth: Hamilton was quicker; Constructive worth: Russell was quicker

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2022 F1 season

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