The 2022 season would have come as a shock to the system of Lewis Hamilton, as the seven-time world champion was forced to adjust to battling outside of the podium places.
Red Bull and Ferrari got off to a lightening quick start under the new regulations that came into play at the start of the year, while Mercedes battled with a severe porpoising issue that rendered them uncompetitive for the majority of the season.
Upgrades brought to the Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas saw the Silver Arrows finally become able to compete with Red Bull for victories, and within a couple of races, fans were treated too seeing Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen go wheel to wheel once more.
Battles between the two drivers are never usually without controversy and the Brazilian Grand Prix saw Hamilton and Verstappen collide in the heat of battle, with the Dutchman being penalised for his part.
Hamilton has suggested that he has become a target for Verstappen on and off the track, but has said that he understands that his success makes him subject to such treatment.
“All you have to do is listen to the words that certain individuals say about me, and then also just look back at the way those individuals behave on the track around me,” said the 37-year-old.
“It kind of shows you that is, most often, a little bit different to others. Part of it is, I’m sure, to do with the time that I’ve had here, the experience I’ve had here, the success I’ve had here.”
The Mercedes driver has also claimed that he is not fazed by any of the comments made in the media about him, with comments constantly emerging from rival teams about Hamilton.
“I’m not really fazed by any of these things as much as I think some people like to think that,” he said.
“Maybe they’ll say things or do things hoping for a reaction, but I’m really just chilled. Like I don’t really care about these things.”
Mercedes will be hoping that they learn and recover quickly from their 2022 failures and can provide Lewis Hamilton and George Russell with a more competitive car from the start in 2023, as both drivers set their sights on championship glory at the opposite ends of their careers.
Should Hamilton wish to win his record breaking eighth world title, he will have to get the better of Max Verstappen next season, which could lead to another action packed year of Formula 1, just like in 2021.