Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Imola, 2022

Hamilton says title is “theoretically” possible but “we need a second and a half, soon”

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton admitted his hopes of winning the championship this year have become remote after finishing outside of the top 10 in today’s sprint race.

The Mercedes driver is 50 points behind championship leader Charles Leclerc going into the fourth race of the season. Given the team’s clear performance deficit to their rivals, Hamilton doubts he will be able to overturn that disadvantage even with 20 races remaining.

“I know there is a lot of points to them, and theoretically, yes it’s still possible,” he said. “But one has to be realistic and the problems we have are not small.

“These guys are seconds, over a second ahead as a worst case scenario. We don’t currently have anything coming to fix it for the next race, we don’t have a solution just yet. Even to design something if we do find what the solution is and we have to change it, the team will work as hard as they can, but things could take months in design and getting those things built.

“So, I think we keep our heads down, we remain hopeful, we continue to chase. But I have to keep an eye on the realistic position we’re in.”

Hamilton said his thoughts are already turning to ensuring the team are not in the same position in 2023. “We’ve just got to work hard to make sure that we’re not in this position next year,” he said.

“I’ve never been this far down, we know how these championships work, and with those two teams at the front, the Ferraris and the Red Bulls who are punching out serious performance, we’ve got to find a second and a half, at least, soon to be ahead of them and finish ahead of them every single race for the rest of the year, basically. That’s not going to be easy.”

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He admitted he did not anticipate that Mercedes would make such a bad start to the season before it began. “Earlier in the year someone, I forget who it was, but we were in Barcelona, the question was put to me like, what happens if you get it wrong? And I said well, we don’t do that, we don’t get things wrong – we’re world champions.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Imola, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Emilia-Romagna sprint race in pictures
“But the fact is, with all the possibilities out there, we may have. But what we’ll continue to do is just keep our heads down, keep working. If one person is down, we rely on our team mates to lift each other up.

“We’re nowhere near where we want to be, but we’ll just keep fighting and keep working as hard as we can and hope that eventually we see light in the tunnel.”

He said it was “reasonable” to ask whether Mercedes have adopted the wrong philosophy with their W13. “But I can’t say whether the car’s concept is flawed, I’m not an aerodynamicist. At some stage we’ll have a better understanding of whether that is the case or not, or whether we are in the right.”

He hasn’t given up hope that a remedy for their problems could be around the corner. “Maybe all of a sudden we’ll fix the bouncing and we unlock more potential. So it’s difficult to write it off anytime soon because everyone’s continuing to work on it.

“But hopefully it comes to light soon, one way or another, whichever way it is, and then we can start putting our focus onto the solution because we haven’t found the solution yet.

“Of course, I want to be fighting for the world championship, but unfortunately that’s not the case and we have to accept the reality which we face and that’s what we do as racers, we just keep fighting.”

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2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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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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42 comments on “Hamilton says title is “theoretically” possible but “we need a second and a half, soon””

  1. “My team don’t make mistakes.”

    1. Oh well, @proesterchen, nobody’s perfect, except yourself, and the *, of course. Did you miss this bit?

      “Earlier in the year someone, I forget who it was, but we were in Barcelona, the question was put to me like, what happens if you get it wrong? And I said well, we don’t do that, we don’t get things wrong – we’re world champions.
      “But the fact is, with all the possibilities out there, we may have. But what we’ll continue to do is just keep our heads down, keep working.

      1. What a difference two months make.

        Can’t wait for how things may change two month from now.

        1. @proesterchen – Do you really think Mercedes will be back on top by the Canadian GP? Maybe you’re right, but I think it’s unlikely.

          1. No, not at all.

          2. @proesterchen OK, I give up, what happens in two months?

          3. @biker56

            I have genuinely no idea and hence am curious how the narrative will change with the ebb and flow of fortunes in the coming months.

    2. Hamilton is a team leader. So, what do you think he should have answered to someone who was doubting his team and his people who are in the factory working hard to give him a fast car?

      He must show confidence and defend his team and people in any circumstance. Someone who criticized him for this just doesn’t understand the responsibility of being a team leader and, surely, never competed in anything.

      Interestingly, he showed some humility here remembering the comments he made months ago. Kudos to him for that.

      1. Bluster only works when you can back it up.

        The moment you cannot, it’s all exposed for the empty rhetoric that it was, and you lose any and all credibility for similar comments going forward.

  2. Completely realistic and honest comments there. I wonder what the commenters here will make of that?

    1. “I’m not an aerodynamicist” Uh. I thought that he has a jack of all trades and a MASTER of all … or as I rhave ead the unending laudatory posts. A latter-day Leonardo, I. Newton, or a “Sigma = Mc/I” guy.

      1. @elchinero – low marks there I’m afraid. LH is world class at many things, including driving, fashion design, music, and business, but he’s the first to tell you he’s not an engineer (BTW, an “aerodynamicist” is a kind of engineer).

        1. @biker56 except his “music” is, in fact, sound engineering as I don’t think he actually writes sheet music and plays his instruments? I could be wrong.

          He also doesn’t seem like a generally smart person, but a very specific smart. A few weeks ago he commented on how we suddenly have 3 races on a continent where Asia had 3 for many years and Europe bad 7ish.

          Either way, he is a driver and a good one at that. But maybe he should talk less.

          1. And…

            Guess what?

            You are wrong because he plays the guitar…


      In other worse, the usual. They won’t give up whether he’s winning or losing, so why pay attention to them?

    3. I agree.

  3. Not good, unfortunately James Allison’s words are coming back to haunt the team.

    We’ll see how it unfolds…

  4. Imagine if Hamilton decided to move to Ferrari after 2020 when he was already a 7 time world champion. I thought that was a no brainer after his 7th title. He has nothing to lose if he will not win his 8th title but if he wins he would have cemented his status as the undisputed GOAT. Leclerc isn’t a Bottas but Hamilton would have been in the best seat to challenge for WDC.

    1. Don’t remember, but did Ferrari really wanted HAM to replace VET??

      1. @mg1982
        Hamilton and Wolff both confirmed that the Ferrari offer was on the table in Mercedes contract extension negotiations. Whether the offer was serious enough, was it the usual driver market’s business when a team wants to know which driver is available in this case Ferrari evaluating all the options or was it Hamilton bringing the Ferrari name to earn a better deal, to be honest no one has a clear idea but the people involved.

        The thing is Hamilton do have a good relationship with Ferrari chairman John Elkann. He’s been in Maranello on multiple occasions and he was one of the lucky customers to get hold of the Ferrari limited edition car LaFerrari in 2013. At that time, the customers list was validated by Luca Di Montezemolo himself !

        1. Ferrari never wanted that dude, Ferrari is a brand and image, do you honestly think Ferrari would go for a guy who wear clown costume every weekend and dreadlocks his hair and tattoed his entire body? Ferrari even sued someone for painting their Ferrari green and post it on Instagram. Being a Ferrari driver means you represent the brand not just race for them, all Ferrari drivers dress fine and looks clean.

        2. Thanks for the info. I know HAM bought more Ferraris, didn’t know he was to Maranello too.

    2. Surely this season just makes it crystal clear that being GOAT is more about BITBCAT – being in the best car all the time?

      1. Indeed, it’s pointless talking about who the best driver is. We have no way of knowing that, especially if we consider all the drivers from the past. I sincerely doubt it’s Hamilton though. So far he’s had the third best car this season, according to many. When Verstappen was driving the third best car (in his first RB season) he did show more impressive performance, albeit inconsistent (but he was practically a child back then, he’s even better now, and Hamilton doesn’t seem too consistent himself in a weaker car). M. Schumacher also seemed stronger with weaker cars, and so have others (do I even have to mention Senna…). But it’s early, maybe Hamilton will improve, so far he’s not doing the best job himself; he can’t put it all on his team and car (after all, Russell performs visibly better).

        1. Yes, schumacher and alonso in particular did great things in bad cars, think about the 1996 and 2012 ferraris, what did hamilton do? Whatever he does this year + whatever he did early 2009, I remember the occasional good performance like the australia recovery early in that season, even though there were controversial circumstances, it was still good, but schumacher and alonso did that a lot more consistently.

        2. I’d argue that Bottas’ performances for Alfa this year is a decent gauge. He’s doing a cracking job. He couldn’t consistently get near Lewis. Lewis is a great driver no matter which way you cut it. The greatest of all time? That question can only come down to opinion. I have noticed that most people I’ve talked to about it generally go with the driver who was most prominent when they got into the sport. The public opinions of drivers occasionally correlate with that too (Fangio for Stewart, Clark for Senna for example). In 10 years time, I reckon Hamilton will be the top of the list for lots of Netfix fans getting into the sport in the last few years. Either way, I imagine Lewis would be in most fans’ top 10. Hard to ignore the most statistically successful driver.

    3. I don’t see how him winning with ferrari would’ve made him the undisputed goat, many of his titles came from a dominant car, just because he’d have won with 3 teams? In that case you have fangio who won with 4 teams I recall, didn’t look it up but I’d imagine maserati, mercedes, ferrari, alfa romeo.

      1. @esploratore1
        Winning a title in a Ferrari at 37 against one of the fastest against a very competitive teammate like Leclerc and against Verstappen in the RBR would have cemented Hamilton’s status among the greats and shutdown his detractors (and I’m one of them) forever. I thought it was a no brainer but apparently Hamilton didn’t want to get out of his comfort zone.

        1. No it wouldn’t. The fans who aren’t willing to give credit to Hamilton for his accomplishments now, aren’t going to give him credit just because he moves to a different team.

        2. No it wouldn’t. The fans who aren’t willing to give credit to Hamilton for his accomplishments now, aren’t going to give him credit just because he moves to a different team.

          1. Sorry for the double. Comments section flaked out.

      2. Also, not to mention, and not a lot of people realise this, bur Fangio and Schumacher are the only two F1 drivers to win at least 2 championships for 2 different teams.

    4. Yeah, I keep telling others Hamilton made the wrong choice when he extend to stay, it was evident when they doing Winter Test at end 2020 Mercedes starting to make the car fundamentally harder to drive. Imagine if Hamilton really join the Ferrari squad, or would be a Deja Vu of his Mercedes career, 1st year 2021 not competitive, and bum year 2022 game on, wow that’s incredible fairy tale.

  5. It’s not just the second and a half, but also that pesky teammate.

    To me Hamilton is still the better driver of the two, but it’s the first time since a very long time (if ever) that he finds himself in a situation like this.

    1. Fernando, Jenson, Niko … it’s not like there’s no history of Lewis getting equalled or beaten by teammates.

      It’s mostly been the (fully) Finnish ones he’s had little trouble with.

      Probably wisely, George appears to have so far averted claiming Suomi routes, AFAIK.

  6. Hope McLaren and Aston Martin fix their car before Mercedes does. Lewis needs a lesson in Humility. Acting like a Entitled Diva to Toto Yesterday….

    1. Completely agreed

    2. Hate doesn’t solve problems….Love alone does…..Get it?

  7. I said I believe there is 1.5s on that car on weight and PU, now Hamilton mentions 1.5 as well. I think it might be true that they have 1.5 on low hanging fruit.

  8. Is there anyone still out there claiming Mercedes are sandbagging lol

  9. All drivers win races and championships in the fastest car. To lessen lewis wins because he had the fastest car… Then we should lessen every race drivers wins because on the day they had the fastest car. Lewis extracted tje most out of the car he has had and more often than not triumphed over his team mates and the rest of the field. if people continue to belittle hamiltons wins tgen these same people no nothing or very little about f1. F1 is not a spec series.

  10. As the car design isn’t changing for 2023 they have to solve the problems with their car or get used to being mid-field. I imagine they’ll eventually figure it out, the only question is when.

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