Tremayne warns: “Be prepared for embarrassment” if you doubt Hamilton

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Hall of Fame F1 Journalist David Tremayne answers those who are trying to say that the W13 has “somehow sapped” Lewis Hamilton’s “fighting spirit”.

A lot of critics have tried to use George Russell’s performance in the first five races of the 2022 season as arguments to somehow prove that Lewis Hamilton has ‘lost it’.

In his column, Hall of Fame F1 Journalist David Tremayne shoots down those theories.

“Now, perhaps you’ve been living on Mars since Abu Dhabi, or working for some daily newspapers,” Tremayne wrote.

“In which case you might really believe that Lewis is now suddenly over the hill and unable to keep up with a whippersnapper, or that the lamentable form of W13 has somehow sapped a warrior’s fighting spirit.

“Have a happy life if that’s the case, but be prepared for embarrassment as the season progresses and Mercedes find the key to unlock what both drivers – especially after Friday morning in Miami – believe is fast-car potential.”

Tremyne then went on to explain what actually led to the difference in performance between Russell and Hamilton.

“In F1, one person’s reasons are a critic’s excuses, but there are plenty of reasons for the imbalance of position between Mercedes’ two drivers.

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“Besides those two Safety Car interventions, which cost Lewis third place to George in Australia and fifth in Miami, there was their differing set-up in Jeddah.

“In the interests of finding some sort of path out of the wilderness, the two have been trying different settings at times, and in Saudi Arabia, Lewis’s car had just too much front-end for a track that also demanded decent traction. Hence a terrible qualifying session and an unhappy race to 10th as George took fifth.

“There was an idea being promulgated in Miami that, because he drove for Williams, George somehow knows better how to drive a bad car.

“But that conveniently forgets that Lewis has previously driven his share of bad cars; the IndyCar lookalike MP4-24 wasn’t that great in his world title defence season of 2009, yet he won with it in Hungary and Singapore and was walking Abu Dhabi before it broke.

“And I recall Fernando Alonso once saying of him: ‘He was able to win with a dominant car, with a good car like 2010 or 2012, or with bad cars like 2009 and 2011. Not all the champions can say that’.

“So let’s ditch that new ‘idea’. But it is fair to say that for George, the W13, with all of its well-documented shortcomings, is still a step up from the Williams FW43B.

“For Lewis, it’s a long way below what he’s been used to. There may be something in that, as each seeks its sweet spot. But anyone who suggests that he has somehow forgotten how to drive clearly wasn’t watching the last five races of 2021.

“Did what happened in Abu Dhabi amount to Samson getting his hair cut? I think not.”

He then went on to warn that once Mercedes sorts out their problems, Hamilton and Russell will be a force to be reckoned with.

“Right now, comparing George and Lewis is never going to present a full picture.

“For me they are both doing everything they can to massage speed, performance and dependability out of a car that clearly needs a lot of understanding, and which plays either of them false according to its capricious whim, and the best way I can summarise their individual situations is that the gods are smiling on one of them more than they are the other.

“And I’m sure I am far from alone in hoping that Mercedes get their act, and their recalcitrant car, together soon.

“But if there is a bright ray in there somewhere, it’s that George is doing everything I had expected to see him do after that Sakhir race back in 2020, which means that when – and I’m sure it will be when, not if – Mercedes are on the pace, they will have the strongest driver pairing on the grid,” the Briton concluded.

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