Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, battles Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, for position, Imola, 2022

Hamilton apologises after finishing nine places behind Russell

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton offered his apologies after finishing the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in a lowly 13th place.

His tough afternoon contrasted sharply with that of team mate George Russell, who brought his Mercedes home fourth. Russell started the race 11th, three places ahead of his team mate.

“It’s been difficult, but I don’t really know what to say,” Hamilton commented in response to a questioned from RaceFans after the race. “It’s definitely not easy and we all feel it as a team.

“At least George got some points today for the team, so my apologies to everyone I wasn’t able to do the same.”

Russell jumped up to sixth place at the start while Hamilton found himself in a queue of other cars which he couldn’t pass. “I didn’t really find it frustrating, I just wasn’t moving forwards” he said. “I don’t really know [why], I just wasn’t fast enough to overtake.”

“I was just a bit of a sitting duck today,” he added.

His first point-less finish of the season leaves him seventh in the championship, 58 points behind leader Charles Leclerc. However he said he’s been through worse times in his career.

“I’ve definitely had lower moments, so it’s not the lowest, for sure,” he said.

“I think the team is, as I said, everyone’s feeling it and everyone’s just head down trying their best,” he added. “There’s no one that’s giving up and everyone’s just trying to move it forward as fast as they can.”

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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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    89 comments on “Hamilton apologises after finishing nine places behind Russell”

    1. Lewis should have taken the risk and come in 2 laps ealrier than he finally did for the Slick tires. It is now a routine that Mercedes and Hamilton never take risks with the strategy. Had he come in 2 laps earlier he would have cleared that traffic around him and would be in the points.

      1. True, they were never risk takers even when the car was better.

        1. Risk taking on poorer performing cars equals accidents DNFs.

          Yeah i wish he had pitted earlier, but the fact is even at the slower speeds created by the wet conditions the car struggled. When he did pit we had that incident in the pit lane which cost him a few places.

          Hamilton’s customary late breaking move required to overtake was non existent, as the cars he was up against were able to break later then him.

          1. Disagree, risk-taking for slower cars is often necessary; just ask Williams.

        2. They did take some risks, Hungary 2019, Spain 2021 are examples

        3. It was a surprising call. They were stuck in traffic and going nowhere. May as well pit and try something different. Worst case, they lose a few positions but they’re already out of the points.

          I found Toto’s apology to Lewis surprising. I respect everything Lewis has accomplished, but that message shouldnt have been necessary when Russell was in P5 for most of the race on merit. Lewis has to look at his performance and realize he couldve done much better. He’s done it many times before and bounced back, so I dont see why he wouldnt this time.

          1. I took that public comment from Toto completely different than most. It was a sarcastic comment. He could have said that in previous races where both drivers were closer, but blaming the car when his teammate is 9 positions ahead clearly shows the sarcasm behind that comment. The car is not a winning car, that is clear and the team is going to struggle the rest of the season with this chassis.
            IMHO, lewis has been driving a winning car for so long that he is no longer able to adapt to a worse car, or it is going to take him many races. On the other side, Russell is driving a much better car after years of training in a worse car.

            This is why I am not saying that Russell is a better driver than Lewis in all conditions. But for sure, at this time Lewis is showing us how badly a champion can struggle when not driving the winning car and Russell is clearly ahead.

      2. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
        25th April 2022, 18:49

        They usually override anytime Hamilton calls for an alternative strategy. He’s heard “NO” so many times he doesn’t bother to ask. James Vowles is the most famous strategist in F1 right now because of how bad he is at strategy. Without the car or Hamilton to bail him out like in Hungary, Merc will never get a good result engineered in the pits by the strategist.

    2. As excruciating as that was for Hamilton, the only thing that was worse was Nico Rosberg’s constant Hamilton obsession. Even when asked about Leclerc, he talks about Hamilton!

      1. Agreed. Got to the point (and very quickly I might add) where I hit the mute button anytime they went to Nico.

        1. Seriously, how childish is rosberg.. that was just petty of him

          1. Well in his defense Lewis has shown on multiple occasions to be quite a …. Only when he had a staged wingman in Bottas and no competitors he was quiet. As soon as there is a hint of competition he can be quite the diva.

        2. @velocityboy indeed. In fact my Sky box went stupid, so for the last 5 laps I had no sound. It was pure bliss!

        3. Yeah, well the F1TV broadcast commentary is actually pretty good with Palmer; Sam Collins is also good with the technical stuff. I’m so glad I don’t have to listen to Crofty’s fake excitement or Ted Kravitz endless blathering anymore. Definitely worth the $70/year.

        4. I thought it was only me that notice Nico’s obsession about Lewis, he went on and on and on about Russell/Lewis

      2. if he misses lewis so much he must come back next year and race lewis

      3. Man was talking like George surgically sliced through the field on pure pace and merit while Lewis was twiddling his thumbs driving in circles.

      4. @eurobrun I mentioned this last year about Rosberg’s commentary gig in Hungary, and got absolutely hammered in the comments section by people who were apparently enamoured by his performance in the booth. Glad to see some people start to see what I saw. He’s still such a mark for himself to this day, that he can only ever comment about Lewis and Mercedes and make himself look better in hindsight.

      5. You’re joking arent you? Nico was the best part of the coverage

      6. What did he say that was untrue? He praised a driver’s performance by using his team mate’s performance for comparison which is literally how everyone makes their assessments on driver performances.
        I cannot believe how this is even worthy of comment let alone criticism.

    3. Sir Lewis “If you think what you saw at the end of the last year was my best, wait till you see this year” Hamilton once again completely embarassed himself. Trashed by his team mate Russell in quali, sprint and the actual race. I thought nothing can beat his inablity to follow simple instruction on team radio to pit in Saudi Arabia, but this time Sir Hamilton refused to pit for slicks and stayed on the track, while running in the all-important 14th place. Apparently lesser drivers running around him somehow knew it was time to pit and gain massive advantage, but THE GOAT didn’t. As for Toto apologizing to Hamilton on the post race radio – as I said few times before, Mercedes will have a massive problem managing their primadonna this season and that was the prime example of it.

      1. @armchairexpert, can’t you find an I hate Hamilton site to haunt?

        1. Charlie Payne
          24th April 2022, 19:31


          Such true words – @armchairexpert please go elsewhere! Must be some form of therapy taking the time to write such disparaging comments.

          Bitter, angry, resentful are words that spring to mind. There are better ways to live life.

          1. Scared one someone points the truth out about Sir Diva?

          2. Bitter, angry, resentful are words that spring to mind. There are better ways to live life.


      2. the only embarrasing thing is you (plus some blind orange fans here)

        1. Noframingplease (@)
          25th April 2022, 10:49

          @romtrain Thanx again for your well argumented post. Meanwhile I’m getting a great impression how polarized minds like you are poisoning a normal discussion between fans. If you don’t like another opinion except your own twisted LH fanb.. there are enought tabloid commentzones for you.

      3. Nico is you?

      4. I think it was embarassing to see how the GOAT struggled behind Gasly who was in a slower car. He just could not pass him. Clearly the best days of Hamilton are behind him, unless he gets a dominant car again as he is used to.

        1. I think, @petterson that writing off Hamilton so soon would be a misjudgment.

          I assume you’re fairly new to motorsport? Hamilton has had an enormous amount of success not involving dominant cars. Have a look at GP2 and his F3 career. He also won the title in 2008 in a car that did not win the constructors title.

        2. If you think that lowly of Lewis I guess by your logic Gasly must have been a joke and you have completely written him off.

          Clearly the best days of Gasly are behind him, as he couldn’t mount an overtake on a Williams that didn’t even have drs or the pace to catch the car ahead of it. He just sat there glued to Albon’s diffuser while Yuki was stacking points!!

          That logic sure makes sense no?

        3. If you had actually watched the race, you’d have probably noticed that very few faster cars were able to pass slower ones ahead of them. The AT is probably faster than the Williams but Gasly made no impression on Albon, he? Same for Leclerc on Perez (and we saw what happened when he tried really hard). Even Bottas on Russell. For some reason though, only Lewis is supposed to overtake in the eyes of his detractors although when he does, it’s then down to the car.

          1. Yeah for most of the race they were all stuck to the dryer racing line, with no drs to over take. Then you had the Mercs with inconsistent downforce for the corners and the overtaking moves into the corner which needs consistent downforce and good breaking. Their cars are havier which wont have helped.

            Remember this is the first we’ve had a wet race with these new ground effect cars and its porposing.

        4. Like any driver out there, Hamilton needs a reliable car, that means a car with good breaks, good traction and consistent downforce. The car in its present setup was unsafe for those wet conditions.

          Also let’s not forget Hamilton is now functioning as tester. Instead of being focused on racing the race weekends are in fact being used to test theories on why the car is under performing. Hamilton’s role for the foreseeable is to test the car under different setups and provide feed back to the engineers. Russell is driving a car with a completely different setup.

        5. lets face it all world champions need a dominant car. Senna in 1988, Mansell in 1992, Schumacher with Ferrari, Vettel with RBR, Hamilton with Mercedes, Verstappen with RBR and now Leclerc with Ferrari. So nothing new!

      5. Well said .. Sir Lewis is good .. no doubt .. but nothing special on him.. Russel is better in equal machinery ..

      6. Bruno Verrari
        25th April 2022, 19:47

        ”Goat” knocked by a kid…retire, man!
        Your lucky years are over – but ”Schumacher and Hamilton” sounds much better.

    4. It is amazing there is more focus and comments on someone finishing 13th than the championship battle at the front, bit of a worry for the future if you’re liberty.

      A terrible weekend all around for Hamilton, I think it looked a lot worse than it actually was. That Merc is really suffering in a straight line. Russell having an incredible start and getting into clean air was the huge difference today. There is a long long way to go in the season and a lot of points still to fight for. I think we’ve seen enough already to know Russell will be on Verstappen and Leclerc pace when there are battles in years to come

      1. Not really amazing taking salaries and experience into account.
        You have a driver who earns 40 million per season, has been in the team for almost a decade and was hailed as the Greatest Of All Times in the (mostly British) press.
        And you have a driver the first year in the team, paid 5 million who is just driving plain better.

        The car is not good, but is still the third or fourth best car on the grid. Russell is consistently putting it there, Hamilton is not.
        And that he doesn’t even know why he can’t keep close to Russell, does not reflect well on his GOAT status.

        1. It’s only an issue for people like you who don’t understand the sport. Stars inevitably decline and their eras come to an end. Lewis is in the evening of his career, has nothing to prove and is in a bad car after a long run in very good ones. And he’s competing after a season where he was robbed of the title. George on the other is in a top team now with everything to prove and if his performances mean Lewis retires sooner, so be it – that is the nature of the business. @burden93 is completely right – if al the attention is on someone who’s nowhere in the fight, then the sport’s owners have cause to worry. When Alonso dethroned Schumacher, attention turned to him and his tussle with Lewis. When it was Sebastian’s turn at the top, no one dwelt on Lewis and Jenson. When Merc started bossing the hybrid era, attention rightly turned to them. The championship fight should really be the focus. That GOAT status is just rubbish too – good for pub debates and not much else.

          1. Lewis wasn’t robbed of the title, he was robbed of an Abu Dhabi win and lost 1 place. Same as when Max was robbed when he had Mercs crashing into him in other races and lost a hell of a lot more points. I was hoping people would finally realise this and see the season as a whole after the initial pain had died down.

            1. Lewis wasn’t robbed of the title, he was robbed of an Abu Dhabi win and lost 1 place.

              … which decided the title. If you are robbed of the win in a title-deciding match, you have been robbed of the title. This is logic even a 5 year old can follow.

            2. Noframingplease (@)
              26th April 2022, 8:58

              @grat So, in fact you can the whole year long play the hypocrite games MB likes to do until the last race, you say? No that’s sounds also very logic

          2. What a nonsense. So only the top drivers are interesting to you?
            A real fan of the sport would be interested in all drivers.

            Last year Lewis was ‘robbed’ of his title and now he’s suddenly in the evening of his career at 37 while Alonso is still giving his best at 40. And I think you are not giving Lewis enough credit: for sure he has moved on after the last race of the previous season.

            But what do I know, I clearly don’t understand the sport.

          3. Noframingplease (@)
            25th April 2022, 10:59

            @emma Oh Emma please stop with your ‘Lewis was robbed’. Stating that is as stupid as calling him GOAT. The 2021 season was more than the last race and we all saw in what way he got in points near Max at the and of that season.

          4. @burden93 and Emma I highly doubt that the amount of discussions about the plight of LH, GR, and Mercedes would be a concern to Liberty even for a nanosecond wrt that taking away from attention towards the duel at the front. As if fans are ignoring whats going on at the front. Of course media are going to talk a lot about the fall of the dynasty that was Mercedes. That doesn’t mean we aren’t also talking about the elevation of Ferrari for this season vs recent ones, as well as RBR nailing their package very well too. Of course the focus will continue to be on the front runners, including the development race, but of course it is a compelling story to observe what the reigning dynasty does with this predicament they are in. I’m pretty sure we can talk about all aspects of F1 and Liberty will be thrilled for that reality, especially since we have been doing it for decades. Look for coming articles over the next number of races to include RBR clawing their way back into the fight vs Ferrari, possibly taking over the role of team/car to beat, or not, McLaren and their new found form, Bottas and what he is doing in his car, GR and what he is doing in his, LH same, how is Mercedes progressing, or not etc etc. Pretty sure as always all aspects of F1 will be tackled ad infinitum.

    5. No need to waste a word on such nonentity

      1. I counted nine

    6. Quite embarrassing how the new comer in the team is beating Lewis. I guess driving a bad car prepares you much better for driving a car that is a handful than driving a championship contender/winning car for the last 8 years.

      1. We will see at the end of the season. As of now I think the only Hamilton´s problem is he cant heat the tyres as quickly as George. This has cost him a lot this weekend but also in Saudi Arabia I would assume. Hypothetically, this should give him advantage in the races as he could make the tyres last longer than others. Something that was visible with him in comparison to Bottas as well.

        If this is true than it is all concealed by the car issue for now. It seems to lack the top speed to overtake other cars (especially those non-Mercedes powered), plus the porpoising which the car suffers at the long straights. Either Hamilton must make changes to his set up style, or Mercedes find some raw speed to allow Hamilton to make for the time he losses on Saturdays.

    7. He has nothing to apologize for.

      1. That’s exactly why he’s apologising ;)

    8. I think Russell drove slightly better all weekend (and indeed I voted for him to outperform Hamilton this season) but their eventual race positions were a mixture of other factors: Russell benefitted from the race start and then from Leclerc spinning out. He also had a good pit stop. Hamilton was unable to achieve much at the start and really lacked the power to progress. Mercedes should have pitted him early and he too should have made that decision. At best, he’d jump some places, at worst he’d remain out of the points. So it should have been a no brainer. Too cautious from both team and driver. Where he probably was right, this race at least, was not to risk too much trying to pass Gasly – Leclerc showed just how a bit of impatience could translate easily into a DNF. Mercedes need the car race data more than anything.

      1. Where he probably was right, this race at least, was not to risk too much trying to pass Gasly – Leclerc showed just how a bit of impatience could translate easily into a DNF.

        What could he have possibly lost by trying? He finished 13th, out of the points. A DNF would have scored exactly the same, zero. He might as well have parked the car.

    9. HAM’s heart just isn’t into it this season. RUS is demonstrating where the Mercede’s is in the grid which is in the 2nd tier which is 4 tiers higher than where RUS’s car was last year.

      And once again Mercedes’ pit crew is the worst on the grid. They got away with it for years when they were changing wheels on a rocket. Fractions of a second count when you have a midfield car.

      Wolff and Hamilton have had it too easy for the last few seasons. They need to evaluate how much determination and heart they have to claw their way back to the top. They need to be leaders with passion.

    10. Should have pitted early, made wrong decisions, wasn’t brave enough with late braking, got beaten by team mate by a huge margin. Credit to Gasly and Albon for not making any mistakes too even though Mercedes had a relatively faster car through a lap.

    11. Will admit some surprise he was bottled up behind Gasly & Albon for the whole race. As soon as DRS was activated I expected him to fly by.

      1. indeed, i voted for Gasly for “driver of the day” thinking he was defending spectacularly against Hamilton. should’ve tossed my vote to Tsunoda instead

    12. Hamilton doesn’t seem to know how to push a car and extract the very best of it when it doesn’t drive perfectly smoothly. Overtaking isn’t his strong suit either.

      1. I’m not sure that’s the case as a general rule (or at least, there’s not yet enough evidence to say its true), but he clearly has an issue adapting to this particular car in certain races.

        In Bahrain and Australia, Lewis had the car in “enough” of the right window to be quicker than George in both quali and race trim. In Jeddah and Imola, he seemingly couldn’t do so as well as George could. Performance-wise, it’s been a see-saw, though Lewis has had much lower-lows (i.e. not finding the groove as consistently).

        There could be any number of contributing factors. Age making it more difficult to adapt, lack of recent experience in a poorly handling car, the car inhibiting his style more so than George (I’ve seen a few comments suggesting his late-braking style is being neutered by the car).

        1. I luv chicken
          24th April 2022, 20:29

          Or he isn’t what we thought he was. The emperor’s clothes, and all that.

        2. @simon999
          I think you are right. As much as I don’t like Lewis’ personality I do respect his driving. People will get on his back because he won a load of easy titles at a canter but he is definitely worthy of being a multiple world champion. This car obviously doesn’t suit him at the minute but hopefully he will get a car to challenge again (not dominate easily) before he retires.

    13. Could his poor perfomance be related to some perfomance clause on his contract?
      I think Verstappen previous contracted said that if he was not at least 3rd in the championship by mid season he could leave Redbull. Maybe Hamilton’s contract says some thing like that. Not that he could be already planning to leave, but in a way looking for options.
      Some talk about health problems, the car is really bad but Russell is making the car work.

      1. You think LH is underperforming on purpose because he wants out? I couldn’t disagree more as I think he is much more of a team man than that, and as well, exactly where would he go? Dejected? Sure I can see that. Psychologically down? Sure I can see that too. But driving sub-par to get out of his contract? No way. And like I say…go where? He doesn’t just get to say ‘ok now I want to be in that car,’ and it just happens.

        No LH just has to live with things as they are and help the team put their noses to the grindstone and sort the car as quickly as they can, including if they can’t do much with it this year, then making sure they nail it for next year. That’s all they can do, and of course I suppose it is possible that LH won’t race next year by choice, but I highly doubt that. I doubt he’ll want to go out like this, and I also think he will want the world to know when his last season is so that he can enjoy the parades in his honour all season long as he does the circuit with folks having their last chance to see him race. He’ll want the ego stroke from that, I’m quite convinced.

      2. Doubtful.
        It is still very early in the season. If the car becomes faster he could still become WDC.
        And if he would be free to go, where to?
        I don’t see Red Bull or Ferrari hiring him now, they have good drivers. Other teams are probably slower.
        And which team contending for titles would hire a driver near the end of his career?

        Lewis may have had his chance to go to Ferrari, but chose to stay at Mercedes. No problem with that. Probably the Mercedes will become faster, is it not this year, then next year. But if not, I don’t see Lewis in a car that can fight for WDC.

    14. Russel made a demon start he overtook kmag and bottas did same clearlh tyre wear. Kmag had no one pullinb him along Lewis poor qually hurt him. Look at jeddah the qually awful yet on rus pace on 20 lap older tyres. Today rus overtook one car ham overtook zero. Not a big difference Ham needs sort qually out

    15. Bathing in the excuses of all the Shamilton fans here. All of a sudden it’s the car, when clearly he’s nothing without a terrible teammate and a car that’s a second clear of the pack per lap.

      Brilliant, beautiful day.

      1. Not a particular fan of Hamilton, but I seriously don’t get the level of passionate hate he gets?

        Russell did better than him this weekend, absolutely.
        But the whole notion of “Shamilton” is just embarrassingly childish…

      2. Well said

    16. Going to wait for the Mercedes debrief video, I expect them to explain this thoroughly.

      Watched both the onboards of Hamilton and Russell. I’d say the main difference was Russell certainly took more risks.

      Hamilton was quick, with what he had but I didn’t see Gasly making any concerted effort to get past Albon he did enough just to keep Hamilton behind.

      Hamilton didn’t get away well at the start and nearly crashed into Stroll and was very cautious which saw him lose places.

      It was hard to watch but if he’s writing off this season this early he may as well take some risks, assuming it does lead to dnf’s.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        25th April 2022, 4:18

        @icarby indeed, Gasly seemed to be quite happy trailing behind Albon. It was awkward. It was also strange how Gasly got within DRS range when DRS was enabled but unable to do anything else.

        1. Yup, it seemed like his only aim was to try and keep Lewis behind! I don’t blame him because any driver that manages to ‘keep’ Lewis behind gets the praise of a king; so it isn’t a surprise that Gasly wanted that? And surely he’s getting that; a mediocre driver and a slower car has managed to keep the mighty Lewis behind all race. Who would have thought that was even possible??!!
          Albon was in front him without DRS but didn’t make any attempt at attacking him; he was just happy to be in DRS range, which enabled him to keep Lewis behind?
          Or maybe it was tactical? Was he afraid that if he overtook Albon, then Albon wouldn’t put up much of a fight against Lewis and once Lewis dispatches Albon, then Gasly would be next without DRS? I’m just speculating given that Gasly’s race was very peculiar especially the fact that when DRS was enabled, he was able to quickly get within the 1s needed at activate but somehow couldn’t or didn’t overtake?! In addition, he had made a comment post-race that it wasn’t difficult to keep Lewis behind; meaning he clearly had the pace to keep him behind but that same pace wasn’t enough to overtake a Williams without DRS? Bizarre!

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            25th April 2022, 20:02

            Yeah, it was weird. But the way the Merc lost speed once Lewis moved from the slipstream is something we’ve never witnessed in any series until yesterday. Lewis could follow behind, get a slipstream, but the moment he stepped out of it, the car just decelerated like crazy even though Lewis was giving it all the juice it had.

    17. If there is one enormous positive for Mercedes to take from a very disappointing start to the season, it’s that Russell is shading Hamilton.

      There will have been a lot of anxiety over the past couple of years about how they will fill the gap left by Hamilton when he retires, and they did seem to have pinned their hopes on Russell being good enough to lead the team. The fact that he’s ranked ahead of Hamilton more often that not will be a huge relief; suddenly a Hamilton-less future doesn’t seem so daunting.

      And of course, if Hamilton does continue his career, he probably won’t be able to demand as high wages as he enjoyed before. Make no mistake, Toto will be delighted that his star of the future is outshining his star of the past.

      1. @jackysteeg Yeah I can see that to a point, but I’m not sure TW is really hanging his hat on that. I think TW is probably not ‘delighted’ by much these days, and his maximum delight would come from LH/GR 1-2’s with them dominating and GR being the dutiful second. But I suppose that goes without saying and as I say I do take your point that GR appears so far to be a good heir apparent. It’s just that first and foremost they have to provide both drivers with a win capable car, and if they had that one could reasonably ask if GR would still be heading LH. Anyway, I already thought GR was a good choice for Mercedes for the future, and I would have even taken him on a season earlier.

        1. It’s great for George that Merc don’t have a winning car. It’s allowing him to do his very best instead of being told to move over and let Ham win, if they had their 0.5+ second advantage of the past.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            25th April 2022, 20:09

            Not sure if that helps the team overall. They need to work together to sort the car out. They can’t be porpoising at every race. Clearly Lewis’ car was incapable of passing the Alpha Tauri yesterday.

            In fact, yesterday’s race was a clear example that slipstream works until you move to the side at which point your car needs to be as quick as the car you’re trying to overtake, otherwise you are not even going to get side-by-side with the other car. But I suspect Gasly was sandbagging for some absurd reason – I can’t imagine him working hard to make Tsunoda look great but it certainly felt that way yesterday :-)

            I think they could have raced the whole season and Gasly would have stayed behind Albon for the whole season… At least Lewis kept trying to overtake despite physics insisting that the overtake was theoretically impossible. I wish Gasly had the same fire in him but I guess he’d be at Red Bull if that were the case…

    18. The difference between lewis and george is that george can drive a bad car like a god, which separates the greats from the good.

    19. Lewis Hamilton’s struggles this weekend and generally this season are very interesting. He has been better than Russell in both Bahrain and Australia, but these were by a small margin while Russell dominated Hamilton in Saudi Arabia and Imola.
      Some could say that Hamilton has just been overrated due to the fact that the Mercedes has always been so good and Russell is just as good a driver if not better, but I just can’t believe this considering how impressive Bottas and Rosberg both were before joining him, and the fact that Hamilton beat Jenson Button as teammates and matched Fernando Alonso in his rookie season.
      Related to this, it could be said that George Russell is simply a great driver and some of his performances at Williams showed that, most notably that qualifying lap in Spa, but the thing that is confusing me here is that his gap to Latifi was similar to the one that Alex Albon now has over Latifi, and Albon was totally destroyed by Verstappen.
      I think most likely is that the new cars are just very different to drive compared to those from last year and that is causing some surprising changes to the pecking order. I do agree with the idea that Hamilton is used to driving such perfect cars that he struggles more when one is difficult, but he will adapt to this and improve over the course of the season. Meanwhile, Alex Albon is performing considerably better, as I expected he would, now he is driving a car built around his own driving style rather than Verstappen’s, while Latifi is clearly performing at a lower level than last year with multiple crashes, probably because of the different car.
      Sergio Perez has also cut the gap to Verstappen, likely due to the new car not being built around Verstappen’s driving style like the old one, and possibly it is a similar story at Alpha Tauri with Tsunoda doing better in a car not built for Gasly, or maybe he is just improving as a driver as he was extremely impressive in Formula 2. It is more difficult to judge at Alfa Romeo as Zhou is a rookie, but Bottas too looks to be performing far better than he did at Mercedes, perhaps due to being the lead driver rather than the wingman.

      1. Drivers just get old and slower just like any other sport and Hamilton performance over the last few years was probably masked by his Mercedes superior speed, his status as the undisputed number one driver and his teammate who isn’t as good and was always on a 1 year contract.

      2. @f1frog I get the general sentiment of your comment but I can’t make sense out of your supposition that somehow Albon is now in a car built around his own driving style, yet you claim SP is no longer driving ‘Max’s car.’ And Tsunoda is no longer driving ‘Gasly’s car.’ What are you basing any of that on? What about Mercedes? Ferrari? Does it depend on the direction of the wind at your house as to whether or not Sainz is driving a car, or CL’s car, or GR is driving LH’s car or just a car they built hoping it was nailing the new regs and going to be dominant?

        Personally I’d be very surprised if any team has built their wholly new car with any one driver in mind and rather have just focused on designing and building a car that can be set up to be balanced and hopefully to carry as much downforce with as little drag as possible etc etc. Be reliable and so on and so on.

        And I’m reminded of something Max said on this topic which is that a team could build a car for a certain driver’s style, but then that can go out the window on any given day anyway based on all the numerous variables and factors that go into each race weekend. Sure, build a car that tends towards oversteer because driver A can’t stand understeer, but then depending on the day or even the stint or the set of tires etc said car might be terribly understeery anyway, and the driver will still have to adapt even though he is driving ‘his’ car. Turns out drivers are having to adapt by the turn practically, especially with tires so temp sensitive still. From what I understand this is one of the areas where Max (for example) excels…adapting to the ever changing conditions that are forever changing the feel of the car on the fly, by the seconds let alone minutes.

        1. @robbie I meant that the fact that all the Red Bull drivers have struggled so much alongside Verstappen in the last few seasons was probably down to the fact that the car was set up for his driving style and that is why they found it difficult (Gasly, Albon and Perez), but with the new cars, as you said, the teams will not have based them around one particular driver because it was more important just to make them fast in the first place, so those drivers will have done better in a car not built for their teammate but just built to be fast (I didn’t mean the Williams was built for Albon, but that it wasn’t built for Latifi either). And while I think that it is most clear of these examples that the Red Bull last year was built for Verstappen it is possible that there were other similar instances such as Hamilton at Mercedes or Gasly at Alpha Tauri where the cars were built for one driver and the new cars not being so has changed the pecking order. But my main point was that the changes to the pecking order were probably down to the new cars being different to drive and suiting drivers differently to those of last season.

          But all this is total guesswork, and could be utter nonsense ;)

          1. @f1frog No that’s fair comment. I do think there is something to the concept of heading cars a certain direction based on a driver’s preferences, and that being the driver they think gives them the most hope for success, but I also think that gets overplayed by some posters, and I especially think that after hearing what Max had to say on the topic which is basically that cars and how they feel to drive are changing all the time anyway, so even a car that is theoretically built for a specific driver needs constant adjusting in terms of setup of the car and adjustments drivers have to make wrt their driving style at all times, and even by the corner as Max has said.

            1. Meant to add, but I agree these current cars were not likely built with an one team’s ‘fave’ driver in mind, and rather have just been built to generally be as fast and well balanced as possible, and then they go from there.

    20. @keithcollantine An idea. After the season could you guys make best comment section. Some of these comments are more entertaining than your ability to write great texts (which they really are)

    21. Given the engineering expertise displayed here and on other threads . . . . . . anyone looking for a job?


    22. I think a lot of the Hamilton bashing here is because of the way the press (and Hamilton Fans) have viewed/reported on the last few seasons.

      Whenever critics said “he’s just winning because he has the best car” Ham fans/press said “No it’s not the car it’s him”.

      Now without the great car … well we can see what is happening.

      Surely the car played a bigger factor in the last few years than was reported.

      Yes Ham has driven some amazing races and was a worthy champion on many occasions.

      But sorry guys you can’t have it both ways. If the car (and slow teammates) we’re not a big part of the reason he won the last few titles, then how come he’s having trouble now?

      Does the car matter or not?

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