Is Lewis Hamilton’s memory of the events of Abu Dhabi 2021 affecting his performance in the current 2022 Formula 1 season? The Mercedes driver had controversially lost a possible eighth world title at the season finale when race director Michael Masi’s decisions gave Max Verstappen a good position.
Hamilton then went on a social media hiatus and was not heard from throughout the winter. In terms of sport, things are not going well for him: He is currently only sixth in the World Championship and is clearly behind his young teammate George Russell within the team.
“I think that Abu Dhabi hurts enormously, and I can understand that,” said Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff to “Sky” more than half a year after the events. “I know how it felt for me and I wasn’t even in the car to lose a record-breaking eighth title.”
But the Austrian also says: “I don’t think it affects his performance in the car. I think it’s in your head somewhere when you’re alone and turn off the light. Then you get angry about it,” says Wolff.
Wolff: Mercedes “in no man’s land” of Formula 1
He should also be annoyed by the current performance of the Mercedes W13, which still cannot keep up with Ferrari and Red Bull. “We’re in no man’s land,” says Wolff. “And if our car is particularly bad over the bumps or the curbs, then we’re also very close to midfield and Alonso & Co. can challenge us.”
“Everyone in the team knows that we just didn’t do a good enough job,” he adds, attributing the problems to false expectations: “I think we were wrong in terms of expectations for the mechanical grip and downforce of our car . It’s just too low for what you can realistically drive,” he says.
“It’s a direction we need to change and we’re doing it. But the car is very slow and I agree it’s not what we expected of ourselves and where we should be,” he said Wolff.
But Mercedes knows in which direction you have to go: “While we drive pretty close to the ground, the others are driving with a higher angle of attack. So you have to develop it in a different way, and that’s exactly what’s happening,” he announces .