Why Lewis Hamilton Is Conceding F1 Championship after Just Four Races – autoweek.com

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“I am out of the championship, for sure, there’s no question about that.”
Lewis Hamilton is seventh in the standings, 58 points off the lead, and there’s only been four events. His hopes of contending for a record-breaking eighth world title are already over for 2022.
Hamilton’s weekend in Imola was a microcosm of a troublesome season.
On Saturday, after finishing 14th in the Sprint qualifying race, Hamilton was stoic about the situation, citing the difficulties he faced with a recalcitrant car in 2009 with McLaren before making mid-season gains to re-emerge as a win contender. He finished fifth in the standings that year.
“The 2009 car was very, very far off, and was the worst car that I’ve had,” Hamilton said. “This car currently is not far off that experience, but I think has a lot of potential. As did that car, we fixed it eventually and got back in the fight, or in the game. And I have the utmost faith that my team can do that here too.”
He also moved to rubbish any speculation, prompted by some former F1 drivers turned provocative pundits, that the disappointing situation could leave him evaluating his future with Mercedes.
“We’ve had amazing times together, we’ve ridden the highs and lows together,” said Hamilton. “I am 100 percent committed to this team. There’s nowhere else that I want to be. Just because we’ve hit a rough patch, it’s just not in my DNA to back out. We are still world champions and we can fix this. It’s just going to take longer, it’s going to take a painful year. I think, ultimately, this is going to be a painful year that we’re going to have to ride out together with belief that we can rectify it at some point, maybe through the year or even the worst case scenario, at least for next year.”
Sunday was little better for the seven-time champion. Hamilton remained marooned outside of the top 10 and eventually came home in 13th place, having spent much of the race staring at the rear wing of Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri. There was also the ignominy of Hamilton being lapped by Verstappen at two-thirds distance. It was in stark contrast to George Russell’s excellent performance. Russell vaulted from 11th to sixth on the opening lap, which effectively was the lone positive of his race, and grabbed a couple more spots to classify fourth.
“I am out of the championship, for sure, there’s no question about that,” said Hamilton after the race. “I’ll still keep working hard and try and somehow pull it back together somehow.”
It is fundamentally obvious, given his deficit and the car’s weaknesses, but it remains striking to hear a driver with seven titles and 103 wins say it after just four rounds.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff labelled Russell’s showing in Italy as “outstanding” and apologized to both drivers for the current situation.
“It’s not his low,” said Wolff on Hamilton finishing 13th. “It’s the low of the car performance. We know that he is a seven-time world champion. You see that when there is DRS train none of them could overtake. So if you are being boxed in in a train of cars it’s just almost impossible to overtake. Lewis had much more pace than Gasly or Albon or the other guys in front but there is one DRS straight and if you haven’t got the straight-line speed you can’t pass.”
Wolff remains adamant that understanding where and how to cure the W13 of its chronic porpoising will unlock chunks of pace from the package.
“You see the bouncing on the main straight, I wonder how the two of them can even keep the car on the track at times,” said Wolff. “I think the fundamental issue which overshadows anything is our car is porpoising more than others. And because of the bouncing we are not able to run it where it should run. That has huge ramifications on the set-up, on the tire grip etc, so one is interlinked to the other, and I think if we were to get on top of the porpoising we would unlock much more in terms of performance on the car.”
Already it is something Mercedes not only needs to figure out for the rest of this year but in terms of evaluating its current long-term concept.


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