Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Losail International Circuit, 2021

‘If you thought I was at my best last year, wait until you see this year’ – Hamilton

2022 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says he is using his frustration at the outcome of last year’s world championship to spur himself to greater heights in 2022.

Having been denied a record-breaking eighth world championship title in a controversial end to the season, Hamilton said he used his two-month break from racing to prepare himself for a new fight this year.

“I really just unplugged, switched off,” he said. “Firstly, on one side, I deserve to be able to switch off at the end of the year anyway.

“But I had my whole family around me. It was actually a rare occasion where we’re absolutely all together and just focussed on being present with them.”

Hamilton said he “took time to digest what had happened” in Abu Dhabi, “which is, I think, still difficult to fully understand everything.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so I put my focus into just training, getting healthy and enjoying the time off because it goes quickly.”

He concentrated on making the best use of another short off-season before the championship began again. “With these long seasons the off time isn’t as long as you would hope for,” he added. “It seems to get shorter and shorter.

“But I think over the years I’ve learned how to be efficient with my time, with my recovery and then with training and building back up both your body and your mind. I feel great, I feel fit. Naturally when you have an extra year of experience under your belt, that always helps.”

Hamilton was on course to score his fourth consecutive win at the end of last season, and clinch the title with it, until a disputed call by FIA F1 race director Michael Masi handed Max Verstappen the chance to pass him and take the title.

“I always feel like through these sorts of experiences you can turn that emotion into strength and into power, and that’s what I’m doing,” said Hamilton. “I’m putting that into my training and putting that into the work that I have with the men and women here in this team.

“If you think what you saw at the end of the last year was my best, wait till you see this year.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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100 comments on “‘If you thought I was at my best last year, wait until you see this year’ – Hamilton”

  1. Absolute class from LH as always.
    Fresh start with a new formula, and consistent application of rules – really looking forwards to this season.

    1. Class would be acknowledging that his success is down to his PU advantage and his bespoke Pirellis. Pretending it’s because of his training is downright arrogant.

      1. @asherway – No more arrogant than your own comments. It has been frequently said by others who are in the know of his hard work ethic.

      2. Bespoke pirellis? Is this the newest fad in trying to diminish Hamilton’s accomplishments, he’s running unique tires?

        No way. That would not have been kept secret. The ability to keep a secret is inverse to the number of people who know about it– look at spygate and crashgate– only a handful of people knew about those, and both still came out in under a year.

        But, thanks for reaffirming the Hamilton rule– if any other driver does well, it’s because of hard work and talent. If Lewis Hamilton does well, it’s because of the car, the extra chances, special equipment… because what you’re really saying is, black dude can’t possibly drive that quick. You were probably with the crowd in 2014 that said all the blinking lights on the new cars would confuse him.

        1. ‘because what you’re really saying is…’
          Wow!! You’ve taken putting words in my mouth to a new level. Well done.
          If you don’t know that Merc have a corporate partnership with Pirelli that’s not my fault. Every midseason re-issue has favored Merc. Wake up.

          1. I also dont understand how this is possible. Last season it decided the WCC in Mercedes favor.

      3. It is time he acknowledges his luck, I agree. Great WDC, but very very lucky as well. A real missed opportunity to not credit it and a continued source for not liking him for a full 100%. Real great athletes have a better self analysis. Never understood his insecurities and having to live up to picture perfect

      4. Pirelli sponsors Ferrari, Mclaren, Hass, Redbull…. i could keep going but you get my point don’t ya?

        i’ll be lurking in the comments for a while, please do feel free to ask any questions!

        1. I said partner, not sponsor. The difference here being that partners run secret tests together and collude on development. Questions?

          1. alright, my bad, you’re correct partner != sponsor.
            let’s see if this changes or in any way fundamentally nullifies my point:

            Ferrari -> https://www.ferrari.com/en-US/formula1/partners/pirelli
            First word on that web page “Technical Partner“, the text goes on to mention partner and partnerships respectively

            Mclaren -> https://www.mclaren.com/racing/partners/Pirelli/
            same mention of partner and partnerships respectively on that web page

            Haas -> https://www.haasf1team.com/partners/pirelli
            see above

            Redbull -> https://www.redbullracing.com/int-en/partners/rbr-pirelli-team-partner
            First word on that web page “Team Partner“, also has respective mentions to the phrases partner and partnerships in the body of text

            so it looks like by your definition of what what a partner is i.e. “run secret tests together and collude on development” either every team is doing this thus, nullifying the idea of an unfair advantage or you’re making baseless accusations. I maybe missing a third option and if so, please do feel free to enlighten me.

      5. Power unit or not – truth or lies. He is the only guy on the grid who can do something about going faster. Everyone else is limited by their machinery. Last for 4 races Max’s only answer is to lunge, brake test or watch others take action to stop Ham. There are 2 levels in F1 . One level consisting of Sir Lewis Hamilton the second level, the rest, consistent contenders for driver of the day.

      6. Bespoke tyres are nothing new in the sport

        Michael Schumacher benefited hugely from bespoke Bridgestones. Of course I do not mean that his Bridgestone tyres were in any way different than anybody else’s. That would have been not only illegal but well nigh impossible to hide. I mean that Bridgestone worked in close partnership with Ferrari to develop the tyres that would benefit the most Schuey’s particular style of driving, and the rest of the Bridgestone drivers had to adapt to them for better or worse. And btw if Fernando managed to beat Schuey it was because he did not use Bridgestones, instead he made those wonderful Michelins bite the apex like nobody had done since Fangio.

        Now we have the same situation with Pirelli, no points for guessing which team is in the role of Fezza and which driver is in the role of Schuey

  2. Oh so you’ll have those exclusive and illegal PU modes for the whole season this year?? Sweet.

    1. someone or something
      18th February 2022, 13:48

      Crazy conspiracy theories are never a good look.

      1. All (s)he’s got.

    2. Great to see, he’s right under your skin. Keep these comments coming.

    3. Looks like you’re in great shape today …

  3. You were very good indeed last year – though perhaps not quite at your best once or twice.

    Anyone with a love for F1 and all it’s associated silliness (how are your tires doing by the way?) can only be delighted that you are sticking with it and are getting fired up to grab that 8th Crown.

    Now I want to read that Max has said he is glad about this whilst photographed with a slight look of concern on his face please :)

    1. Actually, Hamilton was waaaay off his game the first half dozen races or so. Blowing the Baku race by hitting brake magic? That’s totally out of character.

    2. Hamilton’s tire messages are always accurate.

      … if you decode them.

  4. The GOAT. The longevity of Hamilton’s success is unparalleled. So many rule changes, new cars, paired with new generation of team mates, paired with world champion team mates, and still Lewis somehow had come out on top always and still is the benchmark of the field. Still I Rise.

    1. Is this a parody account? I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not.

      1. Everything written there is demonstrably accurate, nothing particularly controversial, @G The only bit up for debate is whether or not LH is the ‘GOAT’. That’s impossible to answer, as we all know because we can’t really compare Fangio, Senna, and Hamilton, so it’s always just a fun debate, rather than one with a satisfactory answer.

        1. paired with new generation of team mates, paired with world champion team mates, and still Lewis somehow had come out on top always

          Maybe not everything written there is demonstrably accurate. Or are we all supposed to look at the times when his team mate won with one eye closed?

          1. Fourteen years, three world championship winning teammates, two losses over the course of a season.

            That’s a pretty good track record.

        2. When Verstappen grabs title #8 the GOAT debate will be over ;-)

      2. There will never be a GOAT until they have levelled the playing field, which I hope this new era can bring.
        Not doubting Hamilton as a driver or a racer, he is definitely one of the best. It’s just silly to call him GOAT because he accumulated lots of titles in a dominant car. You don’t see a snooker final with one player having to use a brush shaft as a cue, for example.

        1. It’s an unanswerable question but I don’t see the same level of moaning about Senna, Prost, Mansell, Andretti, etc having the best equipment.

          1. I suspect that’s because social media didn’t exist in their respective times. Could you imagine the comments section if we could do this in ’89-90? I imagine we’d have a whole new level of toxic!

          2. Were you around in Senna’s time? There were no social media then but the vitriol directed to him and his bullish, entitled style was as toxic as it can possibly get (particularly in French media). After his death a rosy glow came to cover all his unsportsmanship, the worst by far F1 had seen.

          3. @paulguitar

            Senna and Prost were in the same team for two years so at least for this period the car’s dominance did not matter.

    2. Rather the LOAT (Luckiest). Imagine having that car with that speed surplus that didnt lose a single year in the entire V6 Hybrid era… If he only owned up to it we could respect him for it.

      1. There are a couple of seasons at least where Hamilton made the difference, to bring home the WDC, Mayrton.

        Even Luca Di Montezemolo admitted in 2018 that Hamilton would have been WDC in the Ferrari.

        Hamilton constantly references the team for their significant contribution to his success, far more than I heard Senna, Prost, and Mansell doing, for example, and there were seasons where all of them had a far larger car advantage than Hamilton has ever had.

        1. You are right, there have been a substantial number of races where I thought ‘they wouldnt have won that with someone else on that car’. Nevertheless, his total tally is influenced by having luck the Mercedes team could remain this dominant throughout the entire V6Hybrid era. It would be classy if he once would acknowledge that

          1. OK I’ll bite.
            After EVERY race, SLH ALWAYS makes it a point to praise the team. In fact, he always has.
            I might also mention that all the drivers do that, as they are all intelligent as well as talented.
            For some reason, SLH attracts what seem to me to be demented criticism from a few.
            He does also get praise, from e.g. every other member of his team, all his rivals, all the other team principals, all the retired drivers, every expert, a large proportion of the public, the British government, etc. etc.
            How lucky we are on this forum that we have a few commenters that can point out how all those idiots are wrong.

          2. The harder Mercedes work, the luckier they get.

        2. Lewis is a great driver, one of the best. But it’s best to always remind that from 2007 until 2013 , in 7 seasons having really competitive cars in at least 80% of these first 7 years, he got only 1 championship. In my view , the titles from hybrid era unbalance the analysis of Hamilton with drivers from different eras, because this was the greatest period of domination ever for only 1 team. It’s a bit the same to compare Vettel with Prost, both with 4 titles. History can tell which one of these 2 drivers is more impressive. We need to look at Lewis Hamilton tally too with this in mind.

  5. Magic brake reloaded….

  6. This is what I expected from Lewis. A drive and determination to do even better and fight even harder. It’s what he’s like. And I highly, highly respect him for that.

  7. The GOAT (yay Mercedes narrative pushers!). The longevity of Hamilton’s success is unparalleled (and completely orchestrated). So many rule changes (same PU), new cars (same tyre collaboration), paired with new generation of team mates (Bottas?? HA!), paired with world champion team mates (toxicity incoming!), and still Lewis somehow had come out on top always and still is the benchmark of the field (errr, no). Still I Rise. (Cringe).

    1. New troll alert…

      1. Or new account alert. The trouble with @keithcollantine allowing multiple accounts just with multiple gmails is that you never know if the same person is posting different opposing views or what. They can be stupid with one account and smartass with another, argue with themselves, and just post any insincere nonsense looking for a response. Makes the whole comment section a waste of time really.

        1. Stellar detective work as always…

      2. Indeed:)

    2. Lewis beat the fastest driver of the new generation (Max) in an equal car.
      Prior to that he beat the reigning World Champion in Alonso as a rookie. He also beat Seb convincingly to the title in an almost equal car in 2017 and 2018.
      The doubters and haters of Lewis are cringe who continue to doubt Lewis and undermine his success.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        18th February 2022, 17:52

        He lost to Max in a slower car. Not sure your facts stack up.

        1. Most experts put the cars at about evens across 2021 as a whole, with ebbs and flows, and Hamilton had beaten Verstappen, until the Masi ‘intervention’.

        2. Noframingplease (@)
          19th February 2022, 15:47

          Please can you give me some facts that the MB was the slower. I saw in the second half of the season an MB which won races by straightline speed. What was the, according his fans and british media, heroic race in brasil worth without his fast engine?

          1. I believe, according to analysis on this site, that over the course of 2021, the Mercedes W12 was faster than the Red Bull RB16B by approximately 0.058%, or roughly 0.05 seconds per lap.

            That’s pretty much statistical noise, or possibly the effect of one butterfly fart.

            The Brasil engine was fast, but no faster than a normal Mercedes engine– they could run it harder because it didn’t have to do 7 races– and it’s not like Interlagos is known as a power circuit anyway.

    3. Explain Istanbul 2006.

      1. someone or something
        18th February 2022, 15:35

        Explain Beijing 2022.
        That’s what we’re doing, right? Combinations of places and years that stand for sporting events Lewis Hamilton didn’t take part in?

        1. I suspect this is a reference to his incredible drive through the field in GP2. It was the first time the name Lewis Hamilton really hit the mainstream. There was no doubt he’d arrived when he overtook Alonso into turn 1 in Australia 07.

          1. Indeed. He spun early in the sprint race, because he’d had them strip as much downforce off of his spec GP2 car as possible– and then proceeded to rip through the field from last to second in 21 laps. One more lap, and he might have won.

            No super hybrid power unit, no hundred million dollar chassis, just a solid team, the same car as everyone else, and some of the most amazing brake management and overtaking. The GP2 race brought the F1 paddock to a halt, with everyone staring at the screens and wondering who the heck this kid was.

        2. sporting events Lewis Hamilton didn’t take part in?

          Lol – a whole lot of ignorance there.

    4. A well constructed, empirical evidenced, logical post. Well done!
      Can’t say I blame Mercedes or Ham though when you have weak yes men like Horner and Marko obviously turning a blind eye to it all and pretending its all above board. And dishonest drivers like Alonso and Rosberg selling their talents to allow Ham to coast to all his wins. Thought that Max might make a stand, but no, soon realised that he was no different to his father. Only makes a stand when he has a gang behind him propping him up.
      Still, as a mediocre driver from a council estate you have to admire the fact Ham controls a multi-national billion dollar industry and thousands of people from all walks of life; from billionaires to gutter press journalists, all dance to his tune.
      Yet despite all that, people like yourself still invest in the sport. Go figure.

      1. Noframingplease (@)
        19th February 2022, 15:50

        Well, your opinion will do great here. Must be a ratio of 90% pro lewis fans here.

    5. lots to rise for you still, so keep going

    6. Some moments to define a career:

      Hungaroring 2007 or how to wreck a team

      Shanghai 2007 or how to wreck a race

      Brazil 2007 or how to wreck a championship

      Hockenheim 2008 or how to wreck all the rules

      Melbourne 2009 or how to wreck the race direction

      I could go on and on but this should suffice

  8. Hamilton is now and has has been the Benchmark for many a year. If it was not so then u diminish the championship won last year by verstappen… Lewis has repeatedly accomplished what few other drivers have done or should have done. In a merc or mclaren. He has extracted the most out of every package that he has driven. To say its juat the car then we can alao say that for every other winner. The same applies to all drivers.

  9. which beg this question, when was the best season Hamilton had? I find it difficult to answer since he’s winning so much dominantly throughout the hybrid era.

    his McLaren years were very interesting with so much variation between highs and lows but it’s clear that he’s incomplete back then. He’s really maturing with Mercedes.

    Since he had swatted Ferrari and Red Bull rather easily prior to 2021, maybe his best was when he battled Rosberg.

    1. Think 2018 was a better season than this for hamilton.

    2. 2021 wasn’t his best season– he made a number of uncharacteristic mistakes during testing, and early races. The worst has to be Baku, where he threw the win away because he hit a button by accident.

      Typically, Hamilton doesn’t make that many mistakes during a season. He had serious challenges in 2014, 2016 (and lost) and 2017.

      Personally, I rank 2012 as one of his best, even though he finished 4th. He’d just come back from 2011, which was easily his worst season in his racing career, he had a fast car, and he drove superbly. The only mistake I can recall him making was trying to go wheel to wheel on shot tires with Maldonado. His drive in Canada that year remains one of my favorite Hamilton races.

      I think it was James Allen who estimated McLaren gave away something like 180 points through operational and strategic errors (including the infamous Spa wing / telemetry debacle).

  10. I personally didn’t think he was at his best last season, too many mistakes for him to be at his best, it’ll be interesting to see how he drives this season though

  11. He struggled under pressure many times last year and his race craft was very rusty, hence the catastrophic Silverstone bungle to name one of many.

    Unless Merc have another 0.5 second advantage I expect more of the same – If you think about it, he’s not really won a title since 2008 so the pressure will be huge!

    1. didnt win a title since 2008? dont know which world you are living in.

      1. Sorry should have put an asterisk – hes not had to put in any real effort since 2008 to win the title.

        1. Most of them were ofc due to the dominant car, he had to fight rosberg in 2014, in 2017 he had a significant car advantage, 2018 he made the difference and would likely have won in the ferrari, but you can’t exactly give hamilton credit cause his opponent was terrible, can you? And I hope no one tells me 2015, 2019 and 2020 were hard fought titles..

          1. @esploratore1

            Hmm, I don’t agree that 2017 was a significant advantage. I think Ferrari were close enough to claim that it should have been a closer fight. 2018 I agree Ferrari had a very good car (probably equal) but I’m unsure hamilton would have adapted to changing teams and been comfortable enough with it instantly.

            The one year (excluding this one) of the hybrid era that I think another driver deserved the title over him was in 2015. The Ferrari wasn’t better that year, or even that close overall, but Vettel IMO was better than Hamilton this year, which hasn’t been the case any other season since 2013, and Hamilton wasn’t exactly bad that year either.

  12. He made some uncharacteristic mistakes in 2021, but after all, had an inferior car for many of the races and still managed to beat Max (who choked badly) to the title, until Masi’s intervention. Silverstone has been done to death, but unless I am misremembering, after a racing incident, he won that race, significantly reducing Max’s points advantage. So how was that a ‘catastrophic bungle’?

    I’ve thought about it, and he’s won six titles since 2008.

    1. He did need 3 DNF’s less than Max just to get to Abu Dhabi level on points, don’t forget that. That shows how good Max was in the races he didn’t have failures or was wiped out. If Max even had just 2 more DNF’s than Lewis then it would have been done and dusted in Jeddah.

      1. But he didn’t get a free win for just showing up

        1. He gained less points than he would in a normal race with hamilton second.

        2. As it happened, winning was down to qualifying that time. Which was where Verstappen set the fastest time, and hamilton was 3rd. Verstappen is good in these conditions and likely would have won anyway.

    2. Catastrophic bungle meaning Hams terrible Silverstone racecraft wiping out another driver.

      How he thought he could dive up the inside of the highest speed corner with dirty tyres and not lift off is insanity. If not for Max, Ham most probably would have understeered off into the gravel all by himself.

      1. No, he’d have made it around Copse just fine. if the positions had been revered and Hamilton had been leading going into Copse, he’s have left room and probably got the place back going into Stowe. Max showed up he still has a lot to learn that day.

  13. The humble Lewis

  14. I’d enjoy seeing him in a backmarker, in a car that’s outright performance can’t get anywhere near a podium. I wanna see how a driver of his calibre deals with that, how he navigates the midfield, where he can drag uncompetetive and poorly responsive machinery into qualifying. I have no doubt he’d do pretty well, but it’d be interesting to see how he’d fare a year in a car that a win is a near impossibility.

    1. are we just going to pretend his Mclaren seasons don’t exist?
      or do you mean you wanna test his mettle?
      help me understand

    2. @rocketpanda

      well it happened few times in 2009 with a dodgy McLaren when the KERS was first introduced. McLaren and Ferrari was hopeless prior to summer break and lost out big time against Brawn, Red Bull, and even Toyota.

      I remember Hamilton even finished in 18th or something like that in Silverstone

    3. Ham wouldn’t even last the season if the Merc wasn’t a clear winner. His crying would be unbearable, Bono would probably strangle Ham himself!

      1. nandy, you appear to be rather too emotionally involved to be rational.

        I’m guessing from your comments that you have not been watching F1 for long. If you go back and have a look at the 2009 season you will learn that McLaren started with a hopelessly uncompetitive car, and worked through the issues until it became a race winner. There was no ‘crying’, either from the team or from Hamilton.

  15. Unless Mercedes can run away at the front the season will probably see more unexpected winners and podium finishes. If more than 3 people are going to consistently fight over the podium spots it will be harder than previous years for Lewis. And it will be back to normal for Max… That may lead to Lewis falling behind. But we’ll see. No way to be sure that we will see 3 or even 4 teams duelling it’s out at the front every race…it would be great though!

    1. Yes that would be great! What I also look forward to: Hamilton will have an eager and very talented teammate this year – that will provide some interesting dynamics for us spectators as well!

  16. Hamilton, as I suspected, will channel his frustration and annoyance into an even more intense performance this coming year.

    It will be wonderful to watch. I hope the car is good enough to enable him to be fighting at the front with worthy challengers.

  17. Did anyone think Lewis was at his best last year? He made quite a few errors and still should have won the championship!

    This year, with a competitive car and a fire lit under him, I can’t wait to see what he can produce.

    1. I was going to say the same thing but then realised the quote was actually in reference to just the end of the season for which I cannot argue!

  18. Yup. Last year he was suffering from long covid. He was so visibly breathless after races. I would say he was maybe 90% of his full fitness and strength last year.

    1. LOL ‘long covid’!

      1. There is nothing funny about long covid, nandy. I have a friend who’s still struggling with it after several months.

  19. Good to see Hamilton is in a good mindset and ready to go, he will need to be at his best this year. His new teammate will be more in a supporting role I would think this year trying to help Hamilton to his 8th WDC. But unlike Bottas he is the heir apparent and will be giving him some hurry up.
    Also, Redbull, Ferrari and McLaren will not be there just to make up the numbers. So I’m hoping for a very tough year for Hamilton, without any of the staged drama of last year.

  20. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” Probably the biggest lie we tell each other, especially kids…

  21. I suspect Russell is going to make his life a misery. We saw uncharacteristic mistakes last year because he had to push to the limit for the first time in years. If he has to fight off his team mate expect even more mistakes.

    1. Russell has spent years with poor cars battling every single race so he’s going to be race ready sharp.
      Ham on the other hand has rarely gone wheel to wheel, especially in the Merc dominance era, and the times he has, he was usually overtaken or has made a complete balls up like Silverstone, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

      1. nandy…

        Hamilton has gone wheel to wheel plenty of times in recent times, and often with Verstappen, meaning he’s had to be razor-sharp to avoid the clumsy moves Max has repeatedly tried. He’s one of the best overtakers in racing history, as you will learn if you read the opinions of current drivers, former drivers, team managers, and senior figures from the F1 world.

        1. Lucky we have @nandy (and a few others) to point out all those people are wrong!

  22. I hope he doesnt blame the team if the car isn’t the fastest.

  23. Considering his last year wasn’t exactly great he’s probably right, talking especially about the first half.

  24. As far as 2021 first half is concerned, it was absolutely visible that Lewis was not physically fit. There was the instance where he almost passed out on the podium. The second part of the year saw him felling better and his performance improved.

    Many people tend to dismiss long COVID as a fraud, but many of us know people that have been fairly weakened after COVID. Much of the damage is suffered at the intellectual level, not only physical. I believe that it took six months for Lewis to get back to be 90% his old self.

    Then, when people question his dry spell as far as the WDC is concerned, I believe that if it were not for Martin Whitmarsh’s decision to keep Hamilton out on shot tires while leading comfortably at Shangai 2007 until he beached on the gravel, lewis would already have his 8 crowns. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn69iYew9wQ)

    Last year, Jenson Button explained that while he partnered Lewis at McLaren, Whitmarsh insisted to setup the cars to Jenson’s liking and not to Lewis’s. No wonder his performance was not up to par.

    Let’s hope that Lewis will dot the “I” and cross the “T ” in 2022. And if the field is more evenly matched, so much the better.

  25. Overall Max is clearly the better one and if they have close cars again this year things will get worse for Hamilron. He can never dare to race against Max in the same team.

    Max beat him with a close but not better car, full stop.

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