Lewis Hamilton has said Mercedes‘ top-five finishes and podiums in 2022 have felt like winning to him, despite the team still lacking a race win with just two rounds to go in the championship.
Hamilton also said the team’s improvement across the season has felt better than winning every race of the season, as Mercedes have gone from Q2 knockouts to leading laps in 2022.
However, Hamilton‘s record of taking a win in every F1 season of his career is under threat and the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix could mark his last opportunity to keep that streak alive for another year.
“I think we [Mercedes] are winners this year to me,” Hamilton told the press ahead of the 2022 Brazilian GP. “I felt so many times through the year, there’s been so many experiences that I’ve felt like we’ve won.
“Like getting a fifth place or getting a fourth place, finally getting a podium. In those moments we were all so elated we felt like wow, it almost felt like a win.”
Last chance saloon?
The Brazilian Grand Prix marks the penultimate chance for Mercedes to continue their streak of race wins in every year of the turbo-hybrid era.
They’ve come close this season, but bad luck, poor strategy and stronger opposition have combined to deny them and with just the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix left, Interlagos provides the better hope of securing the elusive win.
Abu Dhabi, site of the heartbreaking a controversial 2021 title decider between Hamilton and Max Verstappen, has longer straights and should play to the strengths of the Red Bulls and Ferraris, though Sao Paolo isn’t a track that totally suits Mercedes either.
But Hamilton said he was proud of his team regardless of the results in the remaining two races.
“I feel everyone in the team is a winner this year, they’ve all dug so deep,” Hamilton added, “They’ve given absolutely everything.
“Nobody’s given up and everyone’s overcome whatever emotions they have not being at the forefront and dug deep. So I’m really proud of everybody, I feel that’s even more powerful than winning every single race, to be honest.”