Who slept worst last night: Lewis Hamilton

The Lewis Hamilton era in Formula 1 is closer to its end than its beginning


Dear readers,

when I went to bed on Sunday night I had a pretty solid idea of ​​who I would let my column sleep badly on Monday morning after Barcelona.

The scene on the 7th lap, where the Spanish fans first celebrated Fernando Alonso’s overtaking maneuver against Sebastian Vettel, before their cheers suddenly stopped when Carlos Sainz spun off the pitch while braking at turn 4, had changed for me – if nothing else. due to the emotional component – quite imprinted.

But that Sainz is not a Schumacher at Ferrari, but a Barrichello, that in the long run he remains number 2 with the exceptional talent Charles Leclerc (and that Ferrari can even come in handy because historically he has always had the greatest success with a clear distribution of roles), this is a column I wrote before April 11 this year, following the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

So I had to come up with something else.

Who else has not slept well?

Let’s take a very pragmatic approach:

Sebastian Vettel? His Aston Martin is now a copy of Red Bull, only much slower. His contract expires at the end of the year. And with Lawrence Stroll’s team, in spite of all the money that has been invested, and in spite of all the staff that Stroll sen. poached from his (former?) buddy Toto Wolff and from Red Bull, no progress. But it was Vettel’s turn after the season opener in Bahrain.

Sainz? Went to Melbourne. Charles Leclerc? I tore it to Imola. Ferrari’s (unofficial) number 1 may also have lost the Spanish Grand Prix, but he did so with the fastest car in the field on Sunday. Leclerc said in a Zoom call with us media representatives that night that after Miami, where he finished second, he was in a much worse mood than after the failure in Barcelona. So it does not fit either.

Mike Schumacher? Oh, Mike! Where would I wish I could speak positively about his performances in my various appearances in livestreams, podcasts and on TV. Because I like the guy (really!) And I’m impressed he’s reached the pinnacle of motorsport at all.

But the fact that his debut in the top 10 qualifier in Germany was hailed as a great achievement was nonetheless quite superficial, as on closer inspection he did not keep a light on his teammate Kevin Magnussen. And … Oh, I already wrote it all down and just told it this Saturday in our livestream on the Formula1.de YouTube channel.

Why Hamilton might have slept badly

So Lewis Hamilton. A choice that at first glance may seem questionable.

After he and his team were beaten more or less in the first five Grand Prix, the Mercedes driver honestly laughed for the first time in a long time in Barcelona. When his W13 was really competitive last Friday thanks to the new updates, a laugh was written on his face.

It is finally moving forward with the silver arrows, whose golden days, as I have already said this year, seem to be over. Perhaps the W13 will still prove what Toto Wolff has been saying for weeks, namely that the downforce data from the zero-pod concept in the wind tunnel is breathtaking, and that the car should theoretically blow everyone else’s ears if only the “guinea pig” should be forgotten control is .

Mercedes with a strong race in Barcelona: “Would have gone after the victory”

Mercedes is back in the top ranks of Barcelona. Team manager Toto Wolff with a declaration of war against Ferrari and Red Bull.

Hamilton did not sleep badly due to the clash with Kevin Magnussen in the first round, as one would think, nor because of the boiling hot water cooler, whereby he lost his hard-fought fourth place to Sainz without a fight in the final rounds.

No, I think Hamilton slept badly for a completely different reason. For it must hurt a lot for a seven-time world champion to be behind in almost every discipline in a duel against his only 24-year-old teammate who has never won 66 Formula 1 races.

Russell Vs. Hamilton: The numbers speak for themselves

The bare numbers are as follows: 46:74 World Cup points, 1: 5 balance in the races, 3: 4 in the qualifying sessions (sprint in Imola included). And yes, Hamilton was on a couple of occasions unlucky with safety cars and other forces of nature encountered in Formula 1.

But I put forward the daring thesis: A Bottas would not have been able to take advantage of it in the last few years, even with Hamilton’s misfortune.

Hamilton is 37 years old. In 2022, he will not become world champion. His backlog is already too big for that. His contract expires at the end of 2023.

Like Michael Schumacher in 2005 and 2006?

It all reminds me a bit of Michael Schumacher when his (first) career ended: dominating everything for years, seven-time world champion, then in 2005 a bad season with an inferior car where it was just enough to win (and only because in Indianapolis decided that part of the field with Michelin tires to turn into the pit after the warm-up round).

In 2006, “Schumi” was in top form again, celebrating the last seven victories of his glorious career, then leaving the big stage more or less voluntarily and handing over the baton to his young teammate, who was sometimes faster than him (Felipe Massa). ). , to deliver.

Now there is a big difference in history: Schumacher usually had Massa under control when he did not surpass himself on one of his parade routes as in Istanbul.

Hamilton can not say that about Russell.

Alonso: Hamilton will win over Russell

Fernando Alonso is confident Hamilton will finish ahead of Russell at the end of the season. For he has more experience and perhaps more talent, the 40-year-old Spaniard said in a recent interview.

I honestly have a different opinion on that.

But what I actually get to: If the parallel continues, then 2022 could be for Hamilton, what 2005 was for Michael Schumacher. And that would mean that in 2023 there would only be one last revolt, but that the long-awaited eighth title would be nothing.

I’m not one of those who take every opportunity to emphasize that Hamilton has won the World Championship so many times since 2014, primarily because of the superior Mercedes cars of the hybrid era. In the end, the best drivers are always in the best cars, and so what belongs together is gathered.

After all, Hamilton beat Nico Rosberg in three of their four years together in Mercedes, and it was Rosberg who made Schumacher look old in his second career. And I’m certainly not the only one saying today: Schumacher was not so bad from 2010 to 2012, but Rosberg, looking back, was so good.

Fangio, Lauda & Co .: At one point, they were all replaced

But it is in the nature of top sports that the level keeps rising. At one point, Fangio was the one pushing the boundaries of what was possible. Then came Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, ​​Prost and Senna, Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel.

Now the next generational change is taking place in Formula 1. This Hamilton’s world, they are not old yet, but sooner or later young exceptional talents like Verstappen, Leclerc, Norris or even Russell will overtake them.

In my opinion, Russell is the best of the fabulous 2018 Formula 2 vintage, where the Mercedes newcomer became champion ahead of Lando Norris, Alexander Albon and Nyck de Vries, and one like Nicholas Latifi could not get past ninth place.

It is not yet so far that Hamilton can no longer keep up with the young guns. But the day is coming, inevitably. And I suppose: the turning point has already begun.

Wednesday: Virtual reunion with Bradley Lord

Incidentally, this is a topic that Formula 1 fans can discuss in a personal chat via zoom on Wednesday night from 19:00 in the May issue of the channel members’ get-together with Bradley Lord, the Mercedes team’s communications manager.

If you want to ask the man who always stands next to Toto Wolff at the races, a question, join the discussion via live chat or just watch the livestream, you need to be a channel member. This costs 3.99 euros per month (about the price of a large beer) and can be canceled at any time. So just try it and see if it’s for you!

Information about the virtual regular Formula 1 table with prominent guests and YouTube channel membership on Formula1.de is available at bit.ly/F1-Stammtisch.


Christian Nimmervoll

A message: It is in the nature of things that this column reflects my subjective perception. If you have another opinion, please feel free to discuss it with me, namely on my Facebook page “Formula 1 with Christian Nimmervoll”. There are not primarily “Breaking News” from the Grand Prix circus, but above all strictly subjective and at times quite biting classifications of the most important developments behind the scenes.

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