The 2022 season is not one that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will look back on with much fondness in the future, as Mercedes limped to a third-place finish in the constructors’ championship.
The Silver Arrows’ development pathway under the new regulations that came into effect at the start of the year presented the team with a number of problems surrounding the W13, most notably a violent bouncing issue.
This porpoising was caused by the ride height and aerodynamic design of the car and team principal Toto Wolff has claimed that it took around half the season for the team to solve the issue and be able to focus on developing the performance of the W13.
When major upgrades finally arrived in Austin the W13 became more competitive, but it was only Lewis Hamilton’s teammate George Russell that saw the ultimate benefit of these changes, picking up Mercedes’ only win of the season in Brazil.
Despite finishing the season winless, mainly due to the shortcomings of his team as the start of F1’s new era, Hamilton is set to sign a contract extension with Mercedes and has said that he is proud of his team in 2022.
“This year has been far, far deeper of a feeling because people work so hard to build this car, and it’s, unfortunately, not been the car that they had hoped it would be,” said the 37-year-old, as quoted by GPFans.
“If everybody had just given up and turned up lazy then that would have defeated the purpose.
“Everyone, I’m so proud of. I’ve really seen, more than ever, the strength of every single individual in this team, way more than any of the winning years. I’ve never been so proud.”
Toto Wolff has echoed his driver’s sentiment in recent weeks, suggesting that last season may become one of Mercedes’ most important, as the humbling and the learning curve could help the team improve in the long run.
While there has been no official news on Hamilton’s multi-year contract extension with the team, both driver and team principal have confirmed that their relationship will be continuing in 2023, with the formality of negotiations on the back burner due to the hectic nature of the winter break.
While Russell managed to outscore his teammate in 2022, Hamilton will be keen to ensure that this is a one off, as he seeks to secure a record breaking eighth world title before he retires from Formula 1.