Mercedes Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton has compared the travails he has faced in the 2022 season to the ones from 2009 when he was forced to defend his title in a McLaren that was off the pace.
The 2022 Formula 1 season, has not been kind to Hamilton. The only driver to have won a race in every single season he has contested, Hamilton is in danger of losing that particular record.
While the seven-time world champion has been unlucky in certain races, most notably at his home race in Silverstone and the Dutch Grand Prix, the lack of performance from the W13 has not helped his cause.
“I remember 2009, when the McLaren-Mercedes had its pitfalls,” Hamilton told German site Blick.
“It was the third year, or rather the year after my first title. The engineers told me we were sailing in calm waters. Then I said, then we haven’t set our sights very high this time.
“I had the same feeling then as I do now, even though I won in Budapest and Singapore in 2009. But just: I knew right away in Spain that you wouldn’t be fighting for the championship with this car. Reality supersedes any frustration.”
Hamilton says budget cap limited progress
Hamilton also admitted the budget cap hasn’t helped his cause, with the British driver admitting he knew he would struggle this season as early as the preseason test in Barcelona.
“Since my first test lap in Barcelona sometime in February,” Hamilton said when he was asked about when he knew 2022 would be a tough year.
“But that’s how it is. When you race for so long, every time you drive a new car you have a kind of window in front of you that immediately smiles at you with confidence – or not.
“And when I went for the performance at some points, nothing happened. No smile. I immediately thought about the budget cap and the brake in development.
“Also in the wind tunnel. In the past, a new underbody was there immediately, now it takes weeks.”
Hamilton admits he is still upset over 2021 title loss
Compounding his woes in 2022 is the fact that Hamilton came within a hair’s breadth of winning the 2021 title. In fact, were it not for a controversial call by Race Director Michael Masi, Hamilton would currently be an eight-time world champion.
“Not 100 percent,” Hamilton stated when questioned if he was over the controversial title loss.
“But you always have to look ahead in life. Of course it’s not easy. But if you have a good private life and a lot of friends and an intact family, it will definitely be easier.”
Despite the outcome, Hamilton also admitted he had no issues with rival Max Verstappen, going onto the praise the now two-time world champion’s efforts this year.
“There are no problems there,” Hamilton said about his relationship with Verstappen.
“At least not from my side. He [Verstappen] did everything he had to do on track in 2021. So why should I have a problem with him? The same goes for this year, he is delivering very good results.
“Nobody can take that away from him. We don’t even have to discuss Red Bull’s strength. I respect their performance.”