Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Ishani Aziz
Lewis Hamilton is undoubtedly among the greatest drivers the F1 community has seen, so the thought that 2022 may not be his year is heartbreaking. The seven-time World Champion has been questioned recently, concerning his age and performance. While these criticisms were less relevant in 2021 with his eight wins, it is becoming increasingly relevant in 2022, particularly with George Russell having outperformed Hamilton in the first eight races so far. Could these concerns be justified this season?
The issue of porpoising that Mercedes is struggling with seems to have narrowed the champion contenders this year primarily down to Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, and more recently, Checo Perez. This has left Mercedes, and hence Hamilton just shy of the position they were in last year.
The porpoising was recently exemplified in Azerbaijan, where fans saw Lewis physically struggling to get out of his car, and in visible pain. There have been several instances where Hamilton appeared physically exhausted; the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in 2021, and in Hungary that same year. Whether this is an engineering or health issue, it has been the source of much concern. That aside, performance-wise, George Russell has been outperforming Hamilton this year, much to fans’ surprise. Over these eight races, Hamilton has beaten his partner just once. This performance disparity has also been in the spotlight.
That being said, Hamilton still secured fifth place in Spain, despite a first lap incident. So his talent is still very much intact. More pressing is the fact that if Mercedes continue to struggle as they have, Hamilton might feel as though it’s his time to leave. Whether or not that is true, it has been the subject of speculation both this season, and the last.
An important comparison can be found with Fernando Alonso. The 40 year old driver’s season has been relatively smooth, and could serve as a template to Hamilton’s future. A similar comparison could be made with Valentino Rossi, who raced in the MotoGP for 26 years, retiring at 42, but continuing to drive GT cars at 43. Given these examples it is likely that age should not be relevant when questioning Hamilton’s performances.
If Hamilton does decide to call it quits in 2022 (although arguably it is more likely to happen in 2023), it would be interesting to see if he follows the common path of ex-F1 drivers to Le Mans 24 Hours, or Indy 500, or if he will simply end his racing career with F1.
Whatever the future holds, Hamilton fans are eager to see him make a recovery this year. Realistically we may have to come to terms with the fact that he may not win a race in 2022. Whether or not he retires this year or the next as a result, still remains unknown.
Well, that’s all folks - please leave some comments down below, I read and respond to all of them! Do you think Hamilton should retire? Or is this just an off season for him and Mercedes?
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