Rating Hamilton’s first season at Mercedes

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    Aled Davies

    So now the season is over, how does everyone rate Hamiltons season at Mercedes. A lot of people thought it was a move purely dictated by Money but it seems to have paid off. Few stats below:


    Races: 19
    Pole Positions: 5
    Wins: 1
    Podium Appearances: 5
    Fastest Laps: 1
    Top 5 Finishes: 13
    DNF’s: 1
    Points: 189


    Races: 19
    Pole Positions: 3
    Wins: 2
    Podium Appearances: 4
    Fastest Laps: 2
    Top 5 Finishes: 9
    DNF’s: 2 (Classified 19th in Hungary)
    Points: 171

    Both drivers were quite evenly matched throughout the season, indeed in terms of qualifying Hamilton won that particular duel 11-8 but as noted in the Autosport Facts list after Brazil, that is the most Hamilton has ever been out-qualified in a season. Lewis has said all season that he’s not quite up to speed with the car yet, is that an excuse?

    Rosberg has performed well and is no doubt closer than people expected. I’ve always rated Rosberg myself (im a hamilton fan btw) but expected Lewis to come out better of the 2.

    Some great drives by both drivers, Rosberg has looked strong end of the season while Hamilton has faded (a bit of a trait of his once the championship is lost) , Nico inherited a win at Silverstone from Vettel which I believe Lewis had in the bag before his puncture.

    What does everyone else think?


    Disclaimer: I’m a Lewis fan.

    I think you’ve summarised this particular dual well. Nico gifted Hamilton a podium at Malaysia, Hamilton’s unlucky run of tire incidents benefitted Nico.

    However the question was how would you rate his first season, I’m going to give him a A-. Rewinding to the second half of 2012 the silver arrows were in terminal decline and the idea that anyone could get into the points let alone a win with that car was pure fantasy. Seeing how well Rosberg has done this season just underlines how much of a dog that car was.

    Rolling forward to 2013 and with a second placed finish in the WCC and several other plaudits you have to say its a massive improvement, a lot of that (but not all) is down to Hamilton. I think another good way of rating his season is to ask yourself how much have McLaren missed him. McLaren have built shocking cars in the past but somehow Lewis would finally drag it into some sort of contention.

    I think Lewis is right to point out that this car wasn’t really built for him, although they are friends the two drivers share different styles and history has proven its hard to jump into a car with little or no input into its development.

    I actually think Lewis has got stronger this year and if Merc can finally solve the mystery of eating tires and in season development then he has to be one of the strongest contenders for the WDC.

    Ben Needham

    If you rewind to the start of the season, we were expecting McLaren to be well clear of Mercedes and Lewis looked to be simply laying his bed ready for a proper assault on the WDC in 2014.

    I think at that point if Lewis had been shown the scorecard he achieved this year; ie: multiple poles, podiums, a victory, as well as a comparison with how McLaren performed, he would have snapped it up straight away.

    At times I’ve been a little disappointed with his attitude as he seems to, not so much give up, but maybe beat himself up a little easily and lose motivation.

    If we can get a real Mercedes-Benz car next year coupled with a revitalised Lewis, I think Vettel could be seeing a real challenge next year. That’s not discounting Rosberg either who can now count himself among the top drivers in F1 (not anyone could hold their own against Schumacher and Hamilton for 4 seasons).

    To conclude, I think Hamilton’s “bedding-in” year has been better than even he expected.


    On the whole, I think it has been a success. At the start of the season he said he was hoping to compete for points and the odd podium, so he should be happy when he looks back and thinks that he is actually a bit disappointed with “only” having taken 1 win and 5 poles. It is way more than anyone, including him, would have expected when he was sitting buried in a tyre wall at his first test for Mercedes. Rosberg was also superb at times and gave Hamilton a run for his money, which should raise people’s opinions of Rosberg, not lower their opinion of Hamilton.

    Hamilton has shown flashes of regaining his old form and has also had some lows. I often get the feeling that if he just stopped giving himself such a hard time when it doesn’t go his way he’d be in a better headspace more of the time. I don’t know how he can do it, yo-yo-ing from massive high to massive low seemingly by the session. He should see 2013 as a largely positive year and keep his chin up.


    Hamilton always made it clear he wasn’t expecting race wins or even a competitive car before the season began. I think earlier in the season he was driving a lot better. His attitude was so much better before he got that first win, and then it seems ever since then he’s just been too frustrated that it hasn’t happened again. Before then, he didn’t assume he could win, and in my eyes, was more of a force to be reckoned with. It’s not like the Mercedes has become significantly less competitive as the season has gone on (Red Bull have been better in qualifying, but Merc have improved a hell of a lot in race trim).

    That being said, both of their drivers have impressed me a lot, actually. Hamilton shouldn’t be hard on himself and at times I think he needed to remember this was his first year in a new team. I think Rosberg is still getting better and more consistent. He’s been more than a match for Hamilton this year. I would say they’re about equal at the minute.


    I rate Hamilton’s season a success. I think sometimes its easy to forget where Mercedes have come from, in the latter half of 2012 they were close to 2 seconds off the pace and at the start of 2013 they turned up with the outright fastest car (albeit a tyre muncher). I think Mercedes achevement of 2nd in the WCC must be applauded and they now must be taken as a serious threat. I think Hamilton generally has struggled to get the best out of himself and the car, but that is a very promising sign for the future as he still edged out his team mate. Overall, even Lewis would admit this season has been a lot better than anticipated and has been the perfect “bedding in” year for a serious title assault in 2014.

    I think Mercedes as a team has got stronger and stronger on the technical front, and even if Ross Brawn leaves they will likely be championship contenders in 2014.I don’t know if its just me, but i find the off season very exciting as we are clueless as to who is building the fastest car as we speak. Roll on 2014!!


    It has been a successful season for Hamilton. The leap that Mercedes have taken is quite remarkable and he’s done well in his first year against a very strong team-mate. The Hungary win was massive for Hamilton – I doubt he would’ve imagined getting one in his first season. His run of poles was also impressive, and although he slumped a bit in the 2nd half of the season, he should be proud of his efforts. I’m looking forward to seeing what he and Mercedes can do in 2014!


    If you’ve watched Hamilton’s interviews recently then you know he’s not happy with himself and in my opinion he shouldn’t be.

    At the same time, this season after Hamilton’s move we’ve seen McLaren collapse to P5 and Mercedes rise to P2.

    Here’s the shift in points between the teams:
    Mercedes: 142 pts to 360 pts – a 250% increase
    McLaren: 378 pts to 122 pts – a 300% decrease (reversed for comparison)

    All in all, there was a shift of 474 points from McLaren to Mercedes. That is more than Vettel scored this season (397) and more than enough to win the WCC.

    Was Hamilton the reason for the shift? It depends on who you ask. My argument is how is it possible for Mercedes engineering to negatively impact McLaren since the teams are independent and the only common link was…Hamilton.

    I was dragged into an argument with some other member as to what drivers bring to the table – it’s a common belief that they only bring the keys to start the car (that’s a joke btw for the unfunny minority)

    Also in the important stats Hamilton had 5 poles (nearly 6) and nearly 2 victories which is double Rosberg’s adjusted stats. Yes Rosberg had 2 victories but he inherited the 2nd one from Lewis.

    Still he was off in my book and in his book. If the Pirellis stay, he needs to get on top of them!



    All in all, there was a shift of 474 points from McLaren to Mercedes. That is more than Vettel scored this season (397) and more than enough to win the WCC.

    Forgive me, but I am really struggling to get my head around that logic. Mercedes didn’t even score 474 points themselves, let alone take 474 points ‘from McLaren’.

    Iestyn Davies

    @geemac I think the main thing for Lewis’ seeming drop in his own confidence is possibly the lack of his father there to back him up (as was the case at McLaren’s first half). He looked a lot stronger mentally until his father left. Even weekends where he has his family in the pits you can see him being revitalised by it.

    I think Mercedes have put a lot of emphasis for the 2014 engine, and should be ahead of McLaren (going by the 2013 car), which would make Hamilton the current favourite for the 2014 WDC IMO, after as written above a strong bedding in year at Mercedes. He has to make sure he is on top of Rosberg next year, with better than the stats above by @aledinho and @freelittlebirds, as in more than a 2-1 ratio on wins, poles, f.laps, podiums etc. so he doesn’t lose ground in a title hunt. He can’t afford to let momentum swing to Rosberg for a few races, as it’s hard to see happening to Vettel and Ricciardo.

    Top runners for each engine:
    Mercedes: Hamilton, Rosberg; Button, Magnussen (when up to speed); Hulkenberg, Perez; Bottas, Massa midfield.
    Renault: Vettel, Ricciardo; Grosjean, Maldonado. Toro Rosso and Caterham towards the back.
    Ferrari: Alonso, Raikkonen. Sauber and Marussia towards the back.

    I’m sure Ferrari they could win the WCC if their engine is not a dud, but Alonso and Raikkonen are bound to do a McLaren 2007 and take points off each other all year long. But already it’s shaping up to be between Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso/Raikkonen, Button, and perhaps Rosberg or Ricciardo in win contention in all actuality. If Lotus somehow banzai their 2014 car development, they could also be in win contention. Same for Force India and podiums if the Mercedes engine is good.

    But Mercedes have to make sure they don’t miscalculate how to win in 2014 – this year they had a Q-car in effect early on, in 2014 they could have another tyre-eater if their engine is too powerful for example. But they have put in the resources to win, so this sort of thing should not happen. It’s also been said in Brazil that the cars will come on massively in 2014, as it was with 2009 – ‘the development curve goes steeply up’ as they learn about the new rule set and innovations are discovered. So in-season development will also be critical, and RB always win there from chucking more money at it (and hence all the best people), so they could still do a 2009 and catch up a winning Mercedes (Brawn) outfit.


    Sure, I would be glad to explain where the number came from. Mercedes gained 218 points and McLaren lost 256 points. The net effect is 218 + 256 = 474 points


    I had expected him to be further ahead than Rosberg. There again, Rosberg was excellent. It will be interesting to see next year that the car is built with his feedback and not Schumacher’s, it should suit him better.

    Aled Davies

    Rosberg definitely deserves to be recognised as one of the top drivers in F1 now. I think he has to be ranked in the top 5 (for me he’s better than Button as he has much better qualifying speed) it also proves that Michael Schumacher didn’t do that bad a job either although clearly he was a few tenths per lap from his best.

    I think with a car more suited to his style next season Hamilton could be a real force again.


    My personal view is that Mercedes has heavily improved this season. Hamilton has taken a step back. That doesn’t mean he’s no good. But what im saying is he’s not performing as welll as he was back in 2012. That year he could pull out speed that was second to none. He had some great performances, while this year .. not that many to be honest. I think there were a number of drivers doing a better job than him this season, especially the 2nd half. But with that said .. i think he is one of the favorites for WDC next year.


    I think it’s been a successful season overall for him. He still had moments where he let his pure skill/talent come through with his pole positions, and that win in Hungary was an excellent drive. I don’t think anyone expected any better, given the equipment that he used.

    Hopefully the 2014 car will have the speed of the 2013 (relative to their rivals) so that Hamilton and Rosberg can properly race, instead of nursing tyres for most of the season. If the 2014 car is still fast (relative to their rivals) and they solve the tyre destroying issues of the 2013 car, they’ll should be a proper contender next year.

    That said, he was also really lucky with the timing of his switch (since McLaren was horrible this year).

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