Rating each Hamilton F1 season the place he did not win the title

Lewis Hamilton’s 16 seasons in Components 1 have yielded seven drivers’ championships, however for all of the success there have additionally been campaigns which have yielded extra modest outcomes.

The standard of a driver’s seasons isn’t solely measured by way of outcomes, and amongst these shedding campaigns, there are many sturdy seasons. For drivers of Hamilton’s calibre, even the ‘dangerous’ seasons are often good ones.

Going into 2023, Hamilton is within the very uncommon place of starting a season not extensively tipped as a title contender – one thing that hasn’t been the case for a decade, as final yr even amid Mercedes’ issues its run of success had been so lengthy it felt onerous to imagine issues wouldn’t quickly come good.

So forward of a yr that will properly add to Hamilton’s ‘shedding seasons’, right here is our rating of the 9 seasons during which Hamilton has not gained the title, based mostly on his efficiency degree throughout the context of the place he was in his profession on the time.

9 – 2011

Formula 1 Grand Prix, Belgium, Sunday Race

Championship place: fifth
Wins: 3

Hamilton’s 2011 marketing campaign is rightly remembered for his string of errors. The clashes with Felipe Massa, hitting Pastor Maldonado in Monaco, transferring throughout on Kamui Kobayashi at Spa and his harmful spin-turn in entrance of Paul di Resta in Hungary spring to thoughts. Hamilton was troubled on and off observe.

But his class nonetheless shone via at instances. He handed McLaren team-mate Jenson Button to win in China, produced a surprising pole place lap and well-executed victory on the Nurburgring and signed off with victory in Abu Dhabi beneath strain from Fernando Alonso. He additionally took an awesome second place in Spain, considered one of solely six instances he appeared on the rostrum that yr.

Button outperformed and outscored Hamilton, who additionally struggled to adapt his aggressive model to the calls for of the brand new Pirelli tyres. It’s the one yr in his F1 profession that Hamilton has been emphatically outclassed by his team-mate.

8 – 2013

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Race Day Silverstone, England

Championship place: 4th
Wins: 1

Hamilton’s first yr with Mercedes after leaving McLaren was at all times about adapting to a brand new atmosphere. In a Mercedes W04 that was fast however onerous on its tyres, he settled in properly.

All through the season, Hamilton struggled to get the braking really feel he required. There have been additionally a number of errors, similar to going too slowly behind the protection automotive at Monaco, choosing up a puncture after a brush with Vettel at Suzuka and clashing with Valtteri Bottas at Interlagos.

The excessive level was an outstanding weekend on the Hungaroring, the place he took his sole win of the season, though he was additionally denied a possible win at Silverstone by that notorious Pirelli tyre failure.

His peaks have been larger than team-mate Nico Rosberg’s, however he was extra erratic, which is what makes this considered one of his much less spectacular seasons regardless of it being key in constructing a basis for what was to observe.

7 – 2022

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Mexican Grand Prix Race Day Mexico City, Mexico

Championship place: fifth
Wins: 0

This was Hamilton’s solely winless season so should by definition be ranked amongst his weaker seasons, despite the fact that it was primarily right down to the restrictions of the automotive. However whereas team-mate George Russell had the most important highs – a pole place in Hungary and a win in Brazil – Hamilton’s efficiency over the season as an entire was marginally stronger.

The primary a part of the yr was the issue. Whereas Hamilton carried out a few of the extra excessive set-up experiments, there have been additionally instances when he didn’t get probably the most from an admittedly difficult automotive. However as soon as Mercedes was again into what it referred to as regular growth, his efficiency degree picked up and he started to claim himself – albeit solely by a small margin – over Russell.

In doing so, Hamilton additionally demonstrated his willingness to dig in and combat even when the automotive isn’t as much as it.

6 – 2016

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Race Day Abu Dhabi, Uae

Championship place: 2nd
Wins: 10

Hamilton actually ought to have gained the 2016 world championship, which as a substitute went to team-mate Nico Rosberg. Unreliability and dangerous luck performed their components, with half of the ability unit issues labeled as vital throughout the eight Mercedes-powered vehicles afflicting him.

However Hamilton additionally struggled to adapt to the regulatory tweaks governing clutch/begin process and too typically misplaced floor to Rosberg off the road. There have been additionally too many errors, similar to his Baku qualifying crash, and the odd weekend the place he struggled for tempo similar to Singapore – albeit after shedding time in follow.

By way of efficiency, he was clearly the stronger Mercedes driver. The place a good comparability might be made, he beat Rosberg 12-5 on Saturdays (three of Hamilton’s qualifying classes have been wrecked by mechanical issues) and he solely misplaced the title by 5 factors after his win within the Abu Dhabi finale.

5 – 2012

Championship place: 4th
Wins: 4

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying Day Singapore, Singapore

Hamilton wasn’t a world championship risk in 2012, which superficially seems much like the tough season that preceded it. However he made huge beneficial properties in tyre administration, reduce dramatically on the blunders and reasserted himself over team-mate Button.

The one pricey error he made was not being extra cautious in battle with Pastor Maldonado at Valencia, and even then the Williams driver was held liable for it.

The McLaren MP4-27 was loads fast sufficient to go for the title, however the crew wasn’t as much as it, with too many reliability and operational issues. The Spa begin crash triggered by Romain Grosjean is the best-remembered, however Hamilton additionally misplaced wins via no fault of his personal in Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Brazil.

There have been nice victories in Canada, Monza and Hungary, nevertheless it was his opportunistic Austin win that stood out.

4 – 2021

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Spanish Grand Prix Race Day Barcelona, Spain

Championship place: 2nd
Wins: 8

Hamilton misplaced out in probably the most epic, and controversial, world championship fights in Components 1 historical past. That in itself should imply his 2021 marketing campaign is ranked extremely.

That mentioned, Verstappen was marginally the higher performer over the steadiness of the season whenever you take note of the errors Hamilton made at Imola and Baku. And regardless of the circumstances of the Abu Dhabi finale, to make that judgement you must take the entire season under consideration.

However after a number of comparatively easy championship runs, Hamilton needed to combat onerous all through 2021. That’s demonstrated not simply within the clashes between him and Verstappen that punctuated the season, but additionally the very fact this was a relentless battle that raged from the primary race of the season in Bahrain to the final lap in Abu Dhabi and examined each drivers to their limits – and past.

3 – 2009

Formula 1 Grand Prix, Hungary, Sunday Podium

Championship place: fifth
Wins: 2

It is a forgotten gem of a season from Hamilton, conclusive proof from early in his profession that he may do nice issues with restricted equipment. The McLaren MP4-24 lacked the double diffuser and easily didn’t have the downforce wanted to be aggressive beneath the brand new rules. It labored as anticipated, it’s simply that different vehicles labored a lot better.

As McLaren battled onerous to enhance the automotive, throwing components at it, Hamilton made the very best of it early on. Whereas he was later excluded, he completed third from fifteenth on the grid in Australia. He picked up common factors early on regardless of generally struggling to get out of Q1.

Upgrades improved the automotive, with a significant bundle launched on the Nurburgring making it right into a automotive that might qualify close to the entrance. Nevertheless it nonetheless required Hamilton’s virtuosity to benefit from it and take wins in Hungary and Abu Dhabi.

2 – 2010

Formula 1 Grand Prix, Canada, Sunday Race

Championship Place: 4th
Wins: 3

Hamilton is the forgotten man of the four-way Abu Dhabi final-round title shootout given he was 24 factors behind heading into the race. However the truth he stayed in competition to the top in solely the third-best automotive is a testomony to a powerful season.

The McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25 struggled on bumpy circuits given how stiffly it needed to run to maintain it in the correct aero window, so whereas it carried out properly on smoother tracks with lengthy straights (aided by the f-duct), it was removed from constant.

Hamilton confirmed a willingness to be extra circumspect when circumstances demanded it and gained 3 times, in Turkey, Canada and Belgium. However there have been errors, escaping an off-track second and skim off the wall on slicks within the moist on his technique to the Spa victory, hitting Felipe Massa at Monza after which a 50/50 conflict with Mark Webber in Singapore.

1 – 2007

Championship place: 2nd
Wins: 4

Hamilton has produced higher shedding seasons by way of pure all-round efficiency, however the truth he got here so near profitable the title in his rookie season having gone toe-to-toe with reigning world champion Fernando Alonso in the identical crew makes this probably the most extraordinary campaigns in F1 historical past.

From the very first race, when he boldly went across the exterior of Alonso to take second firstly of the Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton was a phenomenon. He reeled off an unprecedented 9 consecutive podium finishes from debut, together with his first two wins.

It was additionally an acrimonious yr because of the tough relationship with team-mate Fernando Alonso and the spy scandal engulfing McLaren.

His marketing campaign trailed off with that notorious off within the Shanghai pit entry on shot tyres and his seventh place at Interlagos after his early-race gearbox downside, nevertheless it was a sensational season.

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