Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton
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With seven world championships to his name along with plenty of near-misses, Mercedes superstar Lewis Hamilton is not used to struggling when in the driver’s seat of a Formula 1 car. In fact, his worst season came in 2011 when he finished fifth in the Drivers’ Championship – but how does that campaign compare to his stuttering start to the 2022 season?
Heading into the 2011 season with McLaren, Hamilton – the 2008 world champion – was looking to add a second title. He began fighting talk as he dismissed eventual champions Red Bull as ‘just a drinks company’ as Sebastian Vettel would lead Christian Horner’s outfit to the double.
It’s a similar scenario to the 2022 campaign, which originally saw plenty of fighting talk between Red Bull and Mercedes, only for the Silver Arrows to struggle to compete with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez while Ferrari have since emerged from the shadows to assume the lead in the championships. The octuple world champions have really struggled, with Hamilton’s podium in the opening race proving to be the high point of his season so far.
It was a similar case in 2011, as the Brit secured P2 at the season-opener in Melbourne while he secured third in Bahrain this year. Hamilton followed that up with a P8 finish in Malaysia in 2011 – besting his P10 in Saudi Arabia in 2022 – before securing a win in China in the third race of the season.
The third race of 2022 came Down Under, and Hamilton claimed P4 before a horrific 13th result at Imola. He rectified his performance in Florida as he came home at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix in sixth.
However, his form was better in 2011. After winning the Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton took fourth in Turkey and P2 in Spain to firmly place his name in the title mix, something which is certainly not the case in 2022.
Hamilton is currently being comfortably beaten by new teammate George Russell, and he is some way off the pace in terms of the title battle. He is sixth with 36 points – 68 points off Charles Leclerc’s leading total.
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At the end of the 2011 season, Hamilton – who had just retired from the Brazilian Grand Prix – apologised to his team for the ‘mishaps’ throughout the season, and insisted 2012 would be better. The Brit finished the 2011 season fifth overall in the world championship, securing three wins, six podiums and one pole position while finishing behind his teammate for the first time in his career as Jenson Button finished second in the championship.
When comparing such results to the 2022 campaign, Hamilton will have to secure a pole position, another handful of podiums and even several wins if he wants to truly avoid the current season becoming his worst since he entered the sport in 2007. However, he can lose to George Russell, which is perhaps becoming a likely prospect given the 24-year-old’s fine start to the season.
The 22-race F1 2022 campaign – which is expected to return to a record 23 races in the near future once a Russian Grand Prix replacement is found – continues with the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 22.
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