Mercedes’ long F1 wait: Will Lewis Hamilton or George Russell end 2022 win drought in final six races?



As Mercedes continue to search for a win amid a difficult year, Sky F1’s Mark Hughes assesses their prospects for the final six races, starting with this weekend’s Singapore GP; Lewis Hamilton has picked up a race win in all 15 of his Formula 1 years so far

Last Updated: 27/09/22 3:45pm

Lewis Hamilton has six more chances to claim a win for Mercedes this year

Lewis Hamilton has six more chances to claim a win for Mercedes this year

Eight straight years of domination came crashing to an end this season for Mercedes. That in itself is remarkable – but what has been even more so is the team’s failure to win a race so far.

Obviously they will be striving hard to do so in the remaining six events, but even that is by no means a given.

Although the team now understand the troublesome W13 much better than earlier in the season and know they are able to access very respectable performances from it at the right sort of tracks – those which allow it to be run with a low ride height – they know also the car’s limitations are baked-in and the Red Bull and Ferrari are much more versatile performers across all types of track.

Mercedes’ results in F1 2022

Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton George Russell
Bahrain 3rd 4th
Saudi Arabia 10th 5th
Australia 4th 3rd
Emilia Romagna 13th 4th
Miami 6th 5th
Spain 5th 3rd
Monaco 8th 5th
Azerbaijan 4th 3rd
Canada 3rd 4th
Great Britain 3rd DNF
Austria 3rd 4th
Frnace 2nd 3rd
Hungary 2nd 3rd
Belgium DNF 4th
Netherlands 4th 2nd
Italy 5th 3rd

As soon as ride heights need to be raised, the Mercedes appears to lose more of its downforce than the Ferrari and – especially – the Red Bull. Furthermore, its rear suspension does not allow the set-up options to comfortably accommodate the bigger rear ride heights needed to get it out of the bouncing zone.

Hamilton says the ending to the Italian GP brought back memories of his title decider with Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi in 2021

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Hamilton says the ending to the Italian GP brought back memories of his title decider with Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi in 2021

Hamilton says the ending to the Italian GP brought back memories of his title decider with Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi in 2021

There is therefore no inevitability about a win for either Lewis Hamilton or George Russell in the remaining races, as they will likely always have to beat two Red Bulls and two Ferraris to do that.

But it is a feat which looks much more achievable now than in the early stages of the season when the team were struggling to understand even how to access what performance the car had.

Sergio Perez’s late-season struggles with the Red Bull as it has been developed away from the understeering balance he preferred means at least one fast car could be out-paced by an on-form Mercedes.

Sky F1's Ted Kravitz explains why Red Bull's 2022 RB18 car has performed so well for Verstappen and Sergio Perez this season

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Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz explains why Red Bull’s 2022 RB18 car has performed so well for Verstappen and Sergio Perez this season

Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz explains why Red Bull’s 2022 RB18 car has performed so well for Verstappen and Sergio Perez this season

Furthermore, Ferrari’s struggles with tyre usage of late has meant the red cars often cannot match their qualifying form in the race, even if they achieve reliability. So it is only Max Verstappen’s Red Bull which can be almost 100 per cent guaranteed to be super-fast on every day at every track.

A Mercedes win outside of any accident or weather-randomised set of circumstances therefore depends upon them finding a gap through that set of competitive circumstances elsewhere. All they can do is concentrate on maximising their own performance at each event.

The races remaining in F1 2022 – live on Sky Sports

October 2 Singapore GP
October 9 Japanese GP
October 23 United States GP
October 30 Mexican GP
November 13 Brazilian GP
November 20 Abu Dhabi GP

The relative strength of the W13 is in high-speed, long corners when the track layout is smooth enough to allow the car to be set up very low. Singapore is not such a track but Suzuka may be, as might Austin. The car can be competitively quick through slow corners too, but only if the layout of the track does not also include fast corners (as its set-up window is too small to accommodate both). As such, Abu Dhabi and Interlagos will likely not be ideal.

But Mexico might not be so bad, despite Red Bull’s formidable record at the track. Last season showed the Mercedes PU no longer struggles in Mexico’s thin air and as such downforce pure and simple will be the dominating factor, especially given that drag is not punished very hard (because of that thin air), thereby partly-neutralising a key Red Bull advantage.

Craig Slater outlines how a record 24 races will be held on the Formula One calendar next season

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Craig Slater outlines how a record 24 races will be held on the Formula One calendar next season

Craig Slater outlines how a record 24 races will be held on the Formula One calendar next season

Mercedes, Hamilton and Russell fans therefore need to be looking for a combination of the sort of sweet spot the W13 was in during the races at Barcelona, Silverstone and Zandvoort, Ferrari continuing to struggle with their tyres and Sergio Perez continuing to struggle with the Red Bull. Then all it has to do is take on and beat Verstappen…

Stranger things have happened. But not very often.

Watch the spectacular floodlit Singapore GP live on Sky Sports F1 as Max Verstappen gets his first chance to clinch the title. The race begins at 1pm on Sunday, with build-up from 11.30am. Get Sky Sports F1.





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