‘He’s such a force of nature’: Hamilton tipped to ‘have an answer’ to Russell’s pace

Mercedes have made a torrid start to 2022 after eight years of dominance in the Constructors' Championship.

Martin Brundle has no doubt about Sir Lewis Hamilton’s motivation after Mercedes’ rocky start to the 2022 season.

As new technical regulations came into force in Formula 1 this year, they gave way to a paradigm shift in the pinnacle of motorsport, as Mercedes’ dominance has seemingly come to an end.

The Silver Arrows have struggled both with power and handling in the early part of the year, as evidenced by the persistent “porpoising” problems due to the ground effect aerodynamics, and the fact that George Russell was eight mph slower than the Honda-powered Red Bull in the speed trap during qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

READ: Perez reveals why he’s confident Red Bull will defeat Ferrari in Saudi Arabia

The eight-time constructors’ champions were able to overcome the woefully underperforming car in the opening round of the season in Bahrain as Hamilton earned a podium finish following a late double retirement for Perez and Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen, but the principal issues of the car remain in the foreground of what is looking like a tremendously difficult campaign for the Silver Arrows.

Brundle concedes that his compatriot may begin to feel disenchanted if his team are perennially sat in the periphery of the title fight between Red Bull and Ferrari.

“If he goes through the whole year and Mercedes are third fastest and others are catching them up, then I suspect he’ll take a different view and my enjoyment analogy will play out in that he won’t be enjoying it anymore,” he said.

However, Hamilton has not become a seven-time world champion by letting despondency get the better of him, and the 62-year-old has no doubt that the Mercedes driver has a lot left in the tank.

“I think he’s still hugely motivated. I think even despite being 37 years old he’s still at the peak of his talent. George Russell will push him hard, and I think he’ll have an answer for that,” he explained.

Article continues below

“I think he’s such a force of nature. What else is he going to do with all that energy and competitive spirit and adrenaline? We’re all adrenaline junkies when we’ve been racing F1 for a number of years.”

In recent years, Hamilton’s ambitions have transcended sport and he has committed to changing the world for the better – the Hamilton commission set up in 2020 to help diversify motorsport is plenty proof of that.

Brundle appreciates Hamilton’s dedication to ulterior causes and maintains that, so long as he is competitive, he will use his position to try and help others.

“Lewis has so many ambitions to change many things around the world — I really admire him for that — and he knows that Formula 1’s a platform to be able to do that,” he said.

READ: ‘Easy gains’: Mercedes set to close gap to Ferrari and Red Bull in next two races

“So I think as long as he’s still on balance enjoying it and he’s fast enough, he’ll keep doing it, and I think he’ll see beyond a bit of a bumpy ride.”

Hamilton was knocked out in the Q1 phase in Jeddah on Saturday, and apologised to the team over the radio before lamenting an “undriveable” Mercedes car.

He finished the race in P10, scoring a solitary point.