Poll – Has Lewis Hamilton won his final world championship?

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When it comes to statistics and records, Lewis Hamilton stands alone above the hundreds of drivers who have ever sat in the cockpit of a Formula 1 car.

Over recent years, the Mercedes driver has not just reached the dizzying heights achieved by Michael Schumacher – he has surpassed many of them.

A seven-times world champion, Hamilton is among the most well known names motorsport has ever had. Hamilton’s advocacy for social justice, outspoken promotion for more people of colour in motorsport and equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community has made him one of the most recognisable and influential figures in world sport.

On the track, with 103 pole positions, 103 grand prix victories and 182 podium appearances, Hamilton’s real world CV reads like it was achieved by a player in a computer game. Only the fastest lap record eludes him – one that will be prove difficult given that the modern era of no refueling and rapidly degrading tyres means fastest lap is often claimed by drivers who fit fresh rubber in the late stages of races.

But after equaling Schumacher in the most important statistic of all – world championships – Hamilton’s future is arguably at its most uncertain than any point through his 15-season Formula 1 career.

After losing the 2021 world drivers’ championship to Max Verstappen in deeply controversial circumstances during the final race of the season, Hamilton has been keeping a low profile as he contemplates his F1 future. While under contract for 2022, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that even he is unsure whether the team’s most successful ever driver will return to race for them during this upcoming season.

Even if Hamilton does indeed return to the grid in a quest for that eighth title, the dramatic overhaul of regulations means that there is no guarantee that the old order will be maintained in this all-new era of Formula 1. And with such a wealth of talent on the grid – include new champion Verstappen – the competition over the championship has arguably never been fiercer.

At the age of 37, having already achieved more than any other driver who has ever sat on a grand prix grid and very plausibly disillusioned over the sport he has dominated for so long, never have so many unknowns surrounded Hamilton’s career before. At the heart of this lies a key question – has Lewis Hamilton already won his final world championship crown?

For

All world championship reigns come to an end – even those that span multiple seasons. Success is no guarantee of future success – Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and the recently retired Kimi Raikkonen can attest to that.

While Verstappen may have taken the world title in contentious circumstances, they had nothing to do with the Red Bull driver himself. Toto Wolff crediting Verstappen as a “worthy champion” reflects how his talent and performances have become such a headache not just for Hamilton, but the entire Mercedes team. The road to yet another title for the most successful driver-team pairing in history may very well run through Max Verstappen and Red Bull again over the years to come.

There is also the remarkable level of young talent on the grid in the modern era, with Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly all showing they have the skills to compete for victories and potentially championships if given the opportunity. And then there’s George Russell – Hamilton’s rapid new team mate at Mercedes – who may turn out to be quicker than Bottas often proved to be during their years together.

That is, of course, if Hamilton chooses to return to the sport at all. What happened in Abu Dhabi naturally stung Hamilton’s fierce competitive nature deeply. It’s hardly a surprise he is taking his time this off-season to ponder whether to continue in the sport after his year-long fight to win an eighth championship ended as it did last year.

Against

Assuming that Hamilton does decide to continue racing in Formula 1, there’s little evidence to suggest the 37-year-old is beyond the peak of his powers.

Were it not for a highly unusual decision by race director Michael Masi to only allow the five lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen by the safety car at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton would almost certainly already be an eight-time champion.

Verstappen may have demonstrated his incredible pace in recent years, but Hamilton has shown no signs of slowing down himself. He handed team mate Valtteri Bottas his heaviest defeat in their fifth and final season together. He managed to take wins against Verstappen last year even when Red Bull appeared to be faster, such as the opening race in Bahrain. His wheel-to-wheel racing abilities were shown off best during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, where he put on a masterclass of overtaking on consecutive days to win against Verstappen.

Even if Mercedes begin the 2022 season on the back foot performance wise, the team has enough resources, expertise and experience to make it likely only a temporary dip at worst. Even if the title or even race wins elude Hamilton and his team this year, it’s almost certain Mercedes will happily continue to offer him a seat in their car for as long as he wants one. Ruling out another successful campaign over the next few years seems unwise.

I say

Lewis Hamilton’s driving abilities, when combined together, make him possibly one of the most well-rounded drivers – if not the most well-rounded driver – to have ever sat behind a wheel of a racing car, let alone a Formula 1 car.

No one amasses 103 pole positions in Formula 1 unless their single-lap performance is truly elite. No one wins 103 grands prix without possessing incredible natural racing ability. The last few years have seen Hamilton produce some of his very best performances out on the track. If you expect or hope for him to suddenly lose his potency in the cockpit over seasons to come, you’re likely to be disappointed.

Whatever weight people place on the Mercedes team’s ability to routinely churn championship-calibre cars out of Brackley and Brixworth, it would be foolish to overlook Hamilton’s input and influence in developing all of them as a driver through his feedback and his constant pushing for more from his team. When Mercedes became the first team to publicly announce they had fired up the power unit on their 2022-spec W13, it was a clear statement of intent to their other nine rivals. That statement being ‘we are more than ready for this new season’.

Hamilton’s hurt over the events of Abu Dhabi is entirely understandable. Many share differing views over the events that led to him losing the 2021 world championship, but very, very few of us would likely have handled those moments after the chequered flag as well or as professionally as Hamilton did. As someone who has invoked the ‘still I rise’ mantra of the powerful poet and woman of colour Maya Angelou over his time with Mercedes, the idea of Hamilton giving up or turning away from facing his challenges head on is something that goes against his fundamental character as a racer and as a human being.

Unless the FIA fails spectacularly to adequately explain the events surrounding that final safety car restart or take meaningful actions to ensure it never happens again, do not be surprised if Hamilton returns to the grid in Bahrain more determined and motivated than he has ever been before.

It takes a very, very brave person to count out the most successful driver ever from taking yet another world title before the sun finally sets on the most prolific career the sport has seen to date.



You say

Do you believe that Lewis Hamilton has won his final F1 world championship?

  • Yes (45%)
  • No (55%)

Total Voters: 312

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 100 comments on “Poll – Has Lewis Hamilton won his final world championship?”

    1. If next year’s Mercedes is on the same level as all those years he could well win the 8th. I don’t think Russel will challenge him just yet. If they are not on championship level I don’t think he will stick around for more than a couple of years.

      1. Yes I think even if Russell is faster than Hamilton in the best car on track, he will know his place at the team and let Hamilton complete his saga before overtaking him with George’s own 9 driver’s world championship titles at Mercedes.

        1. Yes I think even if Russell is faster than Hamilton in the best car on track, he will know his place

          WOW, are you serious???

      2. First of all…. these votes…? Like we can vote for a driver to become WDC… odd.

        Russell did beat Lewis twice this season….. in a Williams, Belgium and Sochio.
        Maybe Russell doesn’t have the consistency…however with the amount of mistakes Lewis made in both ’20 and ’21 even that’s quite doubtful, he has proven he has the pace and he refused to roll over for anyone..even crashed with Bottas.
        Hamilton is part of Mercedes past, Russell Mercedes future…. Mercedes have no reasons to hold back Russell if he’s on Lewis pace…or faster.

        I expect more from Russell than I ever expected from Bottas, first goal for Russell is to beat his team mate….
        What’s next very much depends on how good the car is…as usually it will be between Mercedes and RBR..with likely Ferrari back in the mix every now and than, but I don’t expect a major shiffle since the Merc engine is still the leading engine

      3. Yes, depends on the car indeed, he should still be one of the best drivers of the grid, so if he has the best car he could win.

      4. That’s the question, isn’t it?! Hamilton is definitely capable of delivering another title, but whether he does win also depends on outside factors (i.e. reliability, good/bad luck, pace of the car). If the Mercedes isn’t fast enough this season and the prospects don’t look better for 2023 either, then I’d say he is going to retire at the end of this year.
        The relative performance of the other cars might influence Hamilton’s championship campaign as well. If Ferrari and McLaren can join the fight and RB stay where they were last season, the title fight is going to become even more complex. It’s one thing to battle one rival, but a completely other matter when three or four other drivers are involved. His teammate could also play a decisive role in this scenario. Will Russell be the team player/supporter or also a challenger?

        1. Alpine also have the resources and know how to build the fastest car under new regs. It’s probably the most difficult season for Mercedes (and Red Bull) as their current car will not help next year.

          I’m also not sure Mercedes want Hamilton to be faster than Russell. Russell is their long term prospect. It’s better to keep him happy than Hamilton who may retire soon.

          It’s also not completely sure that Hamilton’s most recent title was his 7th. I guess there is still and outside chance the last season could be overruled.

    2. No. He will win his eighth in 2022. I predict Mercedes will have the fastest car in the new regulations, and while Russell will push him and prove to be a great signing by the team, Hamilton will still hold on to win the championship. And I think that eighth will be his final championship.

      1. Fully agree with this.

      2. Marca, Spanish newspaper, reports about RB that the data suggest that there new challenger is faster then the 2021 car.

        1. @Heistheone Faster than ‘their’ 2021 car wouldn’t necessarily mean faster than Mercedes on 2022 pecking order.

          1. No but it seems the top teams incl RB will be in the mix. That means LH will have fight MV again and not only his teammate

        2. I think you can place that under rumours so take it with a bit of Salt. We have to see if Red Bull has any speed compared with the other teams.

          1. Jason Marshall
            17th January 2022, 11:49

            Given how much effort RB put into developing last years car in comparison to most other teams, I will be interested to see how they have developed a championship contending car for 2022 and kept under the cost cap.

          2. We won’t know pecking order until March 19.

      3. @f1frog I guess you put your finger on the point, 2022 will be a key year but with so many questions (as James Coulle is partly writing below, saw after writing the comment):
        – Will Mercedes be one of the front runner? Impossible to tell but given past record, hard to bet against. Despite being top of the class, Mercedes was the team to bring up innovation in between years.
        – If Mercedes drops in the order, will Hamilton hang in F1 any longer? I can only see him realistically consider a move to Ferrari if they are at the top
        – Will cars be close enough that drivers will be main differentiating factor? Partly, I think they will get closer (by the end of the season) but car performance will remain a factor. Drivers will have bigger impact though.
        – Who will be main contenders if cars are close enough? With Max driving style, it will be easier for other driver to neutralize him by taking turns having “racing incidents”, his aggressive driving might play against Max. Alonso might be past his prime and the others have to prove they can keep up a whole season with the nerves.
        – Will Lewis be able to adjust driving style to extract the most out of new car? I think he won’t be the most impacted driver (thinking about Vettel who peaks with very specific car characteristics/handling).
        – Will the championship depend on second driver result of each team? Then it will require Russell to be in front of Perez (and Max occasionally) which I think he might be at least at the start of the race.

        1. @jeanrien I agree with all of this. It is not a certainty that Hamilton will win (I’m not one of those people who declares a championship over after a single practice session), but I am just predicting he will. I think Russell, Verstappen and Leclerc are most likely to be the closest challengers.

          1. I also picked “no” and think he might well win one more.

    3. After 2008 I thought he would win far more than just 1. Between 2009-2013 I thought he will only win 1 title (2010 he was close) But in 2022 I think he might win it but it won’t be as easy as the previous 6.
      and we don’t know if Mercedes still is Mercedes or will they fall back in order.

    4. There are just too many unknowns:

      – We don’t know if Mercedes will be the top car of the new formula: may very well not be;
      – We don’t know if Hamilton will adapt well to the new cars that will, for sure need a different driving style to extract the most out of them;
      – We don’t know how Russell will perform.

      It’s possible that the talent remains but the opportunity doesn’t materialize for the next few years.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        16th January 2022, 17:50

        Comment of the Article, for me.

      2. And we don’t know how long Lewis will stick around. He’s been racing in F1 for 14 years. Wouldn’t you be ready for something different? These calendars are getting long and he has expressed dissatisfaction with that. If it were not for the Pandemic break I think we would be hearing talk of retiring from Hamilton. Instead because of the poor control by FIA officials he may be considering a break or retiring despite the break.

      3. Exactly. It is easy to construct a good and satisfying story of Hamilton winning the world championship in 2022 or 2023, but that’s not how probabilities are computed. Many things have to happen, first of all he has to drive. Every of those things could be estimated to be over 50% in probability, and the resulting probability would still be much lower.

      4. I have voted No, but you are right, there are far too many unknowns right now for that to be anything other than a guess.

    5. 1) I suspect Merc moved more resources to the 2022 car earlier. vs RBR, who kept throwing everything at it towards the end of 2021 season. So that is advantage Merc.

      2) Also they might continue and refine the 2021 engine strategy. Taking a few grid penalties and use 5 engines across the season in higher mode. That should give them the first 2 races for each engine a clear edge (Brasil style…), which comes down to 10 races where Lewis should have the edge on Max. If George does the same in the other races, that means 20 races. From what I read, the Honda engine cannot do this trick.

      3) Russell should give Max a harder time than Bottas. More strategic options in the race for Merc

      Given above 3 points and that the Merc was on average already the (slightly) better car over 2021, Lewis should be favourite to win the title.

      1. @trib4udi let me be the devil’s advocate (or the Lion’s advocate):
        1. The way Bottas kept changing engines was a clear “research effort” where they definitely sacrificed their second driver to bring the best updates to Lewis. The last 5 races of the year make me guess the story Mercedes said about not updating the car after Silverstone is one of their always present sandbags, smoke and mirrors.

        2. While I agree they could continue that strategy, don’t be surprised if Ferrari, Renault and RedBull beg for a new directive (come on, the big teams do it all the time – remember how Mercedes managed a tougher testing of bending wings and pit stops to halt Red Bull). So it could well be reinterpreted to bring an even field, something FIA needs to keep cashing via “Netflix-driven” new fans.

        3. What is true for Russell will also be true for Perez. Perez was lackluster during the first half of the season, but managed to be Hamilton’s biggest headache in many of the final races. So a pair of really strong teammates will lighten up the show from both sides.

        4. (extra one) Don’t discount Ferrari silencing everyone (including you and me, Hamilton and Verstappen), and stealing the show. Sainz is more than ready and as much as a Max fan I am, I have a hunch Sainz will become the 2022 champion. It’s not that I want that to happen, is that I feel it can happen.

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          16th January 2022, 17:51

          ” an even field, something FIA needs to keep cashing via “Netflix-driven” new fans.”
          Netflix? This same need took FIA to make draconian had oc changes for 2003.

        2. Regarding your points 3 and 4, I think there’s a good chance we’ll have 3 very strong teams with Ferrari back at the front.

        3. I have a hunch Sainz will become the 2022 champion.

          no waaay… but I would really like that.

          About the article question, who was that guy again?

          1. Leclerc is my blind guess. I don’t think Sainz as champion is too far fetched.

            1. I checked with Lando and Max, they both said 7 is as far as the streak goes.
              My guess is a few others will say the same.

        4. @omarr-pepper – Your first three points are meaningful, but claiming Sainz is going to fight for the WDC is a bit of a stretch. This guy will never be an F1 champion. He lacks the speed and talent. There are races where he is fast and steady, and there are races when he is nowhere. Verstappen, having much less experience in Formula series wiped the floor with Sainz when they were driving together. No one considered Hulk as a good racer, but he destroyed Sainz so much that Renault threw Sainz away! Not only Red Bull, but also the Renault (a team of losers who don’t need good driver because they have the same results with the worse drivers) ditched Sainz for someone better. That’s telling.

          I just don’t see Sainz to ever become even second in the standings, unless Ferrari is the best car.

          BTW: Leclerc with 2 DNFs at least was less lucky than Sainz in 2021, but was almost always faster.

    6. No, even though it may not come in 2022. Hamilton’s pace is as fearsome as ever, and Mercedes have proven their resilience in weathering previous technical regulation changes. Even if someone like Ferrari nail next year’s regs, Merc and Hamilton won’t be far behind.

    7. No more for Ham. The “sport” has changed, rulings, rules, cars, sprints, number of races, etc. His experience is his key skill but that experience is with the previous generation of F1.

      1. And how do the younger drivers have an advantage over Hamilton in a Mercedes based on these changes? He is one of the fastest and the most adaptable driver in F1. I wouldn’t write him off just because of the shakeup. In fact I think he’s least likely to be affected by these changes of all drivers unless Mercedes botches their 2022 car design.

        1. When you get older, your body relies more on experience than reaction. Younger drivers just react which is why they can adapt more easily. The adage can’t teach an old dog new tricks has been around a long time. This is why I think Ricciardo struggled to learn how to drive the McLaren. He is getting older and he has to “unlearn”, in order to learn.

    8. In order for him to win another championship in the next two years, the following things will at least need to be true:

      1) Hamilton doesn’t bail on his contract
      2) Mercedes have a race winning car
      3) Hamilton can beat Russel over the season

      You’d have to say that all of those points are pretty likely. So unless another team does even better, you’d expect Hamilton to come out on top.

      I don’t think he will though. Either he’ll retire because he’s afraid of going up against Russell (he’ll attribute the retirement to the FIA fiasco though), or Russell will beat him over the whole season.

      1. 4) he has to beat MV over a entire season

    9. He will not quit. If HAM were to quit, Mercedes would be all over the place trying to find a replacement for him, and any team they might poach a driver from would be doing likewise. It would be very improbable that no rumors would come out from such an undertaking.
      No, just being dramatic as usual.

      1. And meant to add before I clicked: As for another championship, that will depend entirely on the car Mercedes comes up with. HAM is not good enough to make up the deficit of a truly inferior car (not the fake-underdog kind) when faced with drivers such as VER, LEC and perhaps NOR. However, the reverse is also true: HAM is still one of the most capable drivers in the field, and if he has the superior car the aforementioned others will not beat him over a season either.

        1. LEC and perhaps NOR

          I disagree with POV’s which still rate Leclerc higher than Norris.
          I might be wrong, but Norris has shown a continuous improvement, whereas IMO Leclerc seemed to have stopped improving in 2020 and went even backwards in 2021.

          But 2022 everything could be totally different and Ricciardo might sweep the floor with both of them whilst Alonso clinches the title.

          1. I rate them about the same as drivers; however I do rate Ferrari’s chances of producing a championship-winning car higher than ab McLaren’s, which is why I made the distiction.

          2. I disagree he’s gone backwards, he’s doing like verstappen atm from how I see it: give him a title contender and he will start getting points more regularly too, atm he has nothing to lose.

    10. I really don’t want to see him win again.I am tired of him and Mercedes

    11. I remember Mark Webber noting that at some point your reactions just do slow. And Coulthard, in the Schumacher documentary, saying (and I paraphrase) that with age ‘gaps you could go for, that used to be, there don’t seem to be there any more’. So an 8th is going to become less possible with age. Lewis must be arriving at that point now.

      Added to that, you spend all year training hard, mentally preparing, focusing, giving it everything etc, just to have the rug pulled from under your feet at the last minute, surely that must sap the motivation to keep up a training and nutrition regime all winter in preparation for the next season.

      So if the Merc is the best car this season, my money is on a fresh, hungry George being the one to capitalise.

    12. This is a very simple question.
      If Mercedes doesn’t have the fastest car = he won’t win a WDC.
      If Mercedes has the fastest car = he will win a WDC… IF only he can beat Russell.

    13. Little joke here. Hamilton retires, Hulkenberg is poached and becomes 2022 WDC. And that sparks the 2016 conspiracy theorists about “This German team wants a German champion”.

      Jokes aside, I agree with Moi. Mercedes is actually to quiet to believe the “will he / won’t he” bluff.
      And when he returns he will be as competitive as ever. I don’t see Alonso, who is older than Hamilton, having bad races yet. So hopefully if the cars are more competitive along the whole field, we could be treated for an even better season next year, with 4 or 5 drivers with a chance for the championship.

      1. Becomes wdc without ever scoring a podium (joking ofc)!

        1. 23×12 – needs a 2012 podium spread x 3 – sure why not?

      2. 2022 Alpine makes a shockingly special aerodynamic car and wins the title. Alonso will retire after finally winning his 3rd title and Hamilton retires because he can’t face the world after being beaten after all these years by Alonso.

    14. I highly doubt he wins another title, unless Mercedes has a clear advantage in car performance, and if they do, Russell is hungry after a few years waiting in the wings. I highly doubt Russell is in the same league as Hamilton, but that burning hunger can bridge the gap and make him push that extra bit more every single lap.

      Then there is Ferrari, they should be let off of their artificial leash this year, so I’d expect a Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes battle.

      I expect Lewis to clash with Russell this year, they seem all buddy, buddy right now, but if Russell is competitive, that will change fast.

    15. We need to really stop hyping up this retirement issue. He is not going to retire and this retirement talk is just to keep people talking about that last lap. Even if Lewis does retire, he will be missed only till when the 5 red lights go out in Bahrain. There are enough next-gen talent currently in Formula 1 who are as good or will be good as Lewis in the future.

      1. There’s more chance of Mazepin winning the title in 2022 than there is of Hamilton retiring before the season starts.

        If another team is dominant or if he’s not able to beat Russell convincingly, I think he’ll go at the end of the year but as long as he has a car that allows him to fight for the title and he’s faster than his team mate, he’ll remain in F1

    16. I’m not dismissing Hamilton’s ability. He does, however, need a car to match his ability for another world title to be on the cards. How much focus was put on last years car at the expense of this years? There is no guarantee with such big regulation changes that Merc will just dominate from the start. They no longer have that clear engine advantage to fall back on.

      Also, I fully expect Russell to push Hamilton harder than any team mate he’s had before. Hamilton made some mistakes last year when the pressure was on from Max. If he’s challenged within his own team and externally.. It’s not going to be easy sailing.

      So while I think Hamilton has the proven talent and ability to go for and get an 8th title, I suspect we are going to witness another upset. My prediction being that 2020 was his last F1 drivers title.

      1. Also, I fully expect Russell to push Hamilton harder than any team mate he’s had before.

        I actually believe that’s a good thing for Hamilton.
        In his fights with Rosberg he often woke up a few races into the season (and 1 season just tad too late);
        Also last year he was sublime only after trailing Verstappen into the 2nd half of the season (having had a mediocre start for his standards).

    17. Well someone has to win it right? I’d say Lewis is one of the candidates. But I’m pretty certain Perez won’t. It needs a miracle for him to beat Verstappen over the season.

      1. I’d say only hamilton, verstappen, russell and leclerc can aim to win the title next season, I have no trust on ferrari to get the regulations right, and afraid mercedes is gonna nail them again, red bull might.

        1. I think Sainz has as much chance as Leclerc. There wasn’t much in it between them this year, and he was brand new to the team where Leclerc has had a couple of years there already. Of course, it depends on Ferrari doing a good job, but if they do, I think either could well have the edge.

      2. Mine is a driver + car consideration, I don’t think norris will have a good enough car and I don’t think sainz is title material, he wasn’t the one fighting for wins last season.

    18. I am not going to vote because I can not possibly know.

      I hope he wins another.
      I hope the rest of the grid fight him all the way.
      I believe that Lewis is still young enough to draw on his years of experience and take the fight back to any and all on the grid.

      Don’t you dare surrender Sir Lewis.
      Get back in that car and give it the bejeezus!

      1. I can not possibly know

        As all the others here ;)

    19. 52-48 as I type this. The most curséd ratio.

      I voted Yes because I believe Hamilton has probably two years left, and I don’t believe the new rules will afford any single team the level of dominance we saw from Mercedes in 2014-20. Without that, I find it hard to see him claiming the title next season, and the year after Russell should have the edge on him.

      Mind you, my powers of prediction have always been terrible, so watch him wrap up the next four world championships before his retirement!

    20. Let’s say 2022 is a one-spec car. Same engines, same chassis to everyone.

      Would you vote the same? Would you bet money on it? So, this question is not about Hamilton, is about Mercedes continuing to be ahead or not.

      By the way, if the one spec scenario was true, I’d split my bets among:

      1)Verstappen/Norris/Leclerc
      2) Hamilton/Alonso/Russell
      3) Sainz/Gasly/Ricciardo

      1. In a 1 spec series you would probably back Alonso and Hamilton. Their experience would carry them through. In a 1 vs 1 championship, all risk is calculated on that encounter with only your rival. In a 1 spec series you’d get a 2010 style championship which would require a driver to maximise their points against a number of rivals. As talented as the young guns are, you’d expect them to trip over each other a number of times in the season

      2. In a hypothetical 1 spec car championship next year, experience would be really important, speed too, but since all the cars would be the same, race days would become more important than qualy days. In that case I would identify this 3 top tiers:

        1) Hamilton, Verstappen, Sainz
        2) Alonso, Norris, Gasly
        3) Leclerc, Ricciardo, Perez

        Why RIC and PER at the end? well, they’ve both demonstrated that they are not good adapting to new cars, so next year they won’t be top contenders with a completely new car.
        Why ALO in second tier? Well, he also struggled to adapt to a new car. If we factor this out, I see Alonso still performing at the level of VER and HAM.
        Why SAI in the first tier? Considering he had to adapt to a new car, he performed quite well, while in a new spec, both HAM and VER would have a step back, putting them at the same level.
        Why LEC in the third tier? Because he had some adaptation issues when moving to the Scuderia, not a good omen for the next year. He was beaten the first year SAI was Ferrari. He said that he improved a lot this year thanks to Sainz, so we can’t assume this was a bad performing year for LEC, but the year he had to improve to be on par with SAI. This makes me think that the same way SAI was underrated, LEC was overrated.
        I really see a bright future for Norris, and in a 1 spec car, he would get a WDC in the upcoming years, same for Gasly.

        However… when technical specs change so drastically, there is huge chance of a dominant team. I hope that won’t happen, but since the cards have been shuffled this year, Merc and RBR are not the top anymore. Alpine, McLaren and Ferrari could find the magic to get the dominant car for the next era of 18″ rims and ground effect floors without bargeboards. Aston Martin or Williams could do it too, but chances are really slim for them.

        1. @okif1 I honestly don’t understand why Sainz is in tier 1. This guy had so many races where he wasn’t even on the same planet as Leclerc and was even beaten by slower cars (Portugal, Zandvoort, USA etc.). That’s simply not good enough, and the times when Ferrari had a car capable of qualifying at the front, Sainz could never put a lap together (Monaco and Baku). Leclerc was decidedly better than Sainz in qualifying pace and race pace all season. And I don’t quite get your point about Leclerc’s struggle with adapting to Ferrari. Was he not set to win his 2nd ever race with them before a late engine issue? Did he not outqualify, outrace and outscore a 4-time world champion, including outqualifying him 8 times in a row?

          1. @Mashiat, first my apologies for reporting your comment by mistake, I wanted to reply. I hope they won’t do anything against your user. My apologies to the administrator too.
            Sainz had poor pit stops of up to 8 seconds. In Monaco he was qualifying for pole position, faster than anyone else when Leclerc caused the red flag. Otherwise he would have been pole and most probably he would have won the race instead of a P2. The rest of your comment would be valid if both had been in the same situation, but Sainz didn’t have any prior experience with the car, while it was the third year for Leclerc. It is quite understandable that over the whole season Leclerc was faster at one lap. Don’t forget Sainz had to wait for Leclerc and give back the position twice, even though he was faster than Leclerc. During the race Sainz has been consistently better than Leclec. Leclerc has lost in average 0.1 positions per race from grid to finish, while Sainz gained 1.4 positions in average from grid to finish. So, during the race Sainz was clearly better than Leclerc.

    21. Hamilton has proven very resilient in times of hostility or when under pressure…something few drivers can do.
      so give him a good car ..he will drive it to the win or podium.
      Hamilton will win an 8th or even 9th WDC in my opinion. The caveat is Masi type decisions must stop.

      1. According to Chris Medland over on MissedApex Masi has lost the respect of the teams and his position is untenable. So if he stays I believe RC will be structure in such a way that we will never see a ‘Masi decision’ again.

    22. No, I’m sure he can get the record-breaking WDC #8, especially if Merc gets the new aero rules right, better than their direct rivals. I reckon Russell can challenge more than Bottas, but I’m slightly more skeptical about outscoring over the season. We’ll see.

    23. It takes a very, very brave person to count out the most successful driver ever from taking yet another world title before the sun finally sets on the most prolific career the sport has seen to date.

      Is that a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’?

    24. Has anyone checked if this question appears on any sports gambling sites and what the odds are either way?

      1. I did, and couldn’t find it.
        It showed though (interestingly) that Hamilton has shorter odds than Verstappen on the 2022 title. I guess that would be difficult if he decided not to participate ;)

        1. Given that the bookies will currently be factoring in the possibility that Hamilton may not compete this year, as unlikely as that is, that would mean they think he has an even better chance of winning than those odds if he does compete.

    25. Jeffrey Powell
      16th January 2022, 20:49

      It is motivation that counts above all else, this may be a big ask but cast your minds back to 1970 when a 44 year old triple champion proved more than a handful for Jochen Rindt, Jackie Stewart and Ickx . All of those mentioned probably a match for Max Verstappen.

    26. He’ll get to 10 WDCs.
      Watch that space.

    27. I’m gonna make a bold prediction and say that Hamilton retires at the end of this season, without getting a record 8th WDC title.
      Not because he wouldn’t be capable of delivering a performance worthy of another title, but rather Mercedes not performing strongly enough to give him the tool that he needs. With Ferrari and McLaren making progress, it could be a four-way fight between Hamilton, Verstappen, Leclerc and Norris. Lewis has also made the odd mistake last season (i.e. Imola, Baku), which could be heavily punished in the upcoming season.

    28. This is all dependent on the Mercedes’ car realistically. And no, I reject the “it’s all the car” narrative, but to win a world championship you need a fast car. If Mercedes build a competitive car, I have no doubt Lewis will probably be up there fighting for wins and for the title. But if we get another 2009 for example, where the two big teams from the previous season(s) fail to make the most of the new regulations, and a surprise team finds a way to be at the top, then I doubt he can realistically fight for the championship. Please don’t misinterpret this as me bashing Lewis or criticising his abilities; he is a fantastic driver and has proven that time and time again.

      But to win a championship, you need both a good driver and a good car, and the stats back this up. Only 9 times has a driver won the championship in a car that didn’t win the constructor’s (note: stats are from me counting through a list on Wiki, they may be 1 or 2 out either way but I think they’re right), and only once (Piquet in 1983) has a driver won a championship in a car that didn’t finish in the top two in the Constructor’s.

      If the Mercedes car is good enough, Lewis will almost certainly be in contention for the title. Given a competitive and reliable enough car, he should be fighting for wins and the championship.

    29. 2022 is going to be a huge sea change in car performance. Nando might well end up winner this year. Has Sir Lewis won his last WDC? I hope not, but I have a nagging feeling he may walk away, and I would applaud that.

      FIA have made minimal effort to investigate the embarrassing farce of 2021 until the last week. I believe it is too late and disrespectful to us all. The FIA are going to have an internal enquiry into FIA procedures. Whoop-de-do!

      If I was was Lewis, I would give the FIA the two fingered salute they deserve. They have been a shady and unreproachable organisation forever, and money sloshes around their doors in the billions, not millions. Draw your own conclusions.

    30. I honestly can’t see him winning another, especially if it’s going to be close battles from here on (hopefully). He has lost every title battle he has been in where another driver has challenged him all the way. Unless of course Mercedes build another rocket and Russell is on par with Bottas.

      1. I’m not Lewis’ greatest fan (I don’t particularly have anything against him, there are just other drivers I prefer), but I think Brazil 2008 and Abu Dhabi 2014 are both examples of Lewis winning a final race title decider.

        (Yes, I know Rosberg had an engine issue in Abu Dhabi in 2014 but Lewis was already ahead at that point, and a second place finish would have sufficed to win the title anyway).

        1. 08 was a messed up year too with crashgate. Felt Massa was really unlucky not to be champ. I think Lewis will want to come out on top in a convincing title scrap as I’m sure all drivers do. That’s why I don’t think he will leave and will be as hungry as ever.

      2. He has lost every title battle he has been in where another driver has challenged him all the way.

        I don’t think this is true. I’d say he was challenged all the way in 2008, 2015 and 2017 at the very least, and he won those.

        1. Really? In 2015 he finished 60 points ahead and 2017 nearly 50 points ahead in comfortably the quickest car.

    31. Well, for that we need to know what Massi has in store for us
      .lol

    32. If Hamilton does come back, the chance of Mercedes once again developing the perfect design for the next generation of cars is pretty slim I think and then even if they do he will have Russell to contend with.

    33. First, will he stay? I think by now, having time to process the season ending, he’ll want to be convinced there won’t be a repeat of Abu Dhabi. FIA should be able to provide that assurance – but given their supreme incompetence much of the time, it’s not guaranteed.
      Second, if he stays, will he win again? Probably yes – I’d imagine him continuing 3 or 4 years at least, if the racing is good and Mercedes competitive (i.e. at the front, with or without rivals alongside). If so, 1 or even 2 more titles sounds achievable. Though if he got the 8th in 2024, say, rather than this year, I’d imagine he retire on a high.

    34. I find the extent to which the comments highlight what ‘we don’t know’ to be slightly amusing.

      Of course we don’t know. If we knew everything it wouldn’t be a very entertaining poll. The whole point is to speculate based upon our own understanding of what we do know (which largely means ‘guess’). Some may see such an exercise as a little pointless, but I am actually interested in what people ‘think’ may happen Vs what actually transpires.

    35. I am still not convinced that Max Verstappen or any of the othee young guns possess all the tools to beat Lewis in a straight fight.

      We saw a steely, fast Max verstappen last year. He is probably the most aggressive driver in this era of cars. But yet still he had many weaknesses in race craft, and tyre management when the car was not set up right. We aslso saw psychological weaknesses in red mist behaviour on the track.

      Yes Max attained the championship at the end of the year with the aid of a certain Mr. Masi. But I as a Lewis fan did not really feel that he convincly won it. I felt more defeated when Lewis Lost to Button in 2011 because Button genuinely had a certain category skills that Lewis could not match at the time. (tyre management and team building).

      I really don’t feel threatened by Max as Lewis fan becauze Max is simply not the complete article yet. And as long as Lewis has a competitive car for 2022 he will keep Max and the rest of the young guns sweating.

    36. While he has the talent for it, I hope the audience will get some-one else. They deserve it after the borefest of the last decade

      1. I agree that there is enough talent on the grid (and in the car developing/running teams) to have an exciting season with or without Lewis.
        I just hope for Russell that Lewis decides to stay at least one more season. I don’t think Russell will beat Hamilton, but he will learn a lot during such a season.

    37. You can undoubtedly learn a lot from Lewis. So much talent and experience. I doubt however whether Lewis is up for a Lewis-Alonso scenario. Chances are that George might be a fiercer competitor than we think. And if it is staged by Toto that George ‘should know its place’ well then.. that woud be so Toto and so unsportsmanlike that Lewis wins will hold no value

    38. Put Hamilton in a car that is capable of winning means you instantly have a championship contender for both wcc and wdc. He has done enough, surely by now, to know never to rule him out. But having said that there are two things not even he can defeat… Time and the officiating body.

    39. Had Lewis win his last WDC?

      I don’t care.
      I don’t care if Lewis wins, Verstappen, Leclerc, Russell, Alonso or another driver.

      As long as we have competitive teams and correct stewarding (that includes Abu Dhabi, but also several other races last year).

      I’m tired of the bore fests of the last years and I’m tired of the polarization within the fans.

    40. The problem Lewis has now, is that there’s a driver next to him that’s perfectly capable of beating him. At first on a good day, but pretty soon on any day once he’s acclimated. And what you have then is two drivers taking points away from each other and that’ll end up with a situation very similar to 2007, where Alonso and Hamilton got in each other’s way to a championship so Kimi could run away with the spoils at the end. Had there been a clear number 1 and number 2 in that team then, the WDC would’ve been McLaren’s, easily.

      So ultimately, it depends on the hardware, if that Merc is dominant to a degree where no other team can get close, then it’s an in-team battle and Lewis could very well get his 8th title this year. If it’s not and there’s another team (or more) in the mix, having Russell there is going to prevent Lewis from scoring the maximum he’ll need to get it.

    41. Of course he will win, the script has already been written by Liberty :-). Joking aside though, if Merc delivers a fast car (and I for one have no doubt whatsoever that they will) Hamilton is surely capable of driving it to a WDC. We’ve seen it last season, in a comaparable car he wiped the floor with Bottas and was more than a match for the RedBull in the last 4 races.

    42. The latter races of the season show that Lewis has still got it, so it depends on the car, his motivation/focus, etc.

      Not voting because there are too any unknowns.

    43. It all depends on the Mercedes, if the Mercedes is comfortably the fastest car as it has been throughout the hybrid era than yes, he can, depending on Russell. I think due to his commercial worldwide appeal, Hamilton will be the Merc #1 regardless of how Russell fares against him.
      If Mercedes has the slight advantage it had in 2017, 2018 and 2022 then it would be harder. He cannot rely on Ferrari style post summer break meltdowns or Vettel’s inconsistencies to clear the path for him. We have seen what happens when he’s up against a talented, consistent driver in Max where he came second best despite the lionshare of good luck, now he could also be up against Russell and Leclerc, maybe Sainz and Norris so it will be harder for him to cruise to pole after pole and race after race from now on.

    44. Past success is not guarantee of future success but we can look at trends / patterns from the past and draw some potential prospects for the future.
      When the Mercs returned to F1 in 2010, and the new regs were announced for 2014, they made the conscious decision to focus on 2014 onwards and we know what happened. And more importantly, since 2017, there have been reg changes and in all those, the Mercs adapted quite well. When in 2018 and 2019 the Ferraris came up with a faster engine, the Mercs pushed themselves quite hard and responded with another competitive engine in 2020. For 2021, they were on the backfoot with the new aero / floor changes, but by the mid/end of the season, they’d adapted very well and had the faster package (in race trim) in the last 4 races.

      For Sir Hamilton, he adapted very well when he moved to the Mercs in 2013 and beat Rosberg that year. When Pirelli introduced the highly degrading tyres, a lot of people and pundits said it was going to negatively affect Lewis more given his ‘driving style’ but in fact it was him that adapted better to point that he drove faster (than Rosberg) whilst at the same time conserving his tyres better. He still has that trait. And who remembers when they used to show the fuel consumption rates during the races? Here too, Lewis would be driving faster but consuming less than Rosberg. In other words, better adaptation to changes.

      So with the above trend/patterns in mind, and as the author of the article has pointed out, you would be brave to bet against the Mercs and Sir Hamilton being competitive in 2022, even if they start the season on the backfoot. And the latter has shown over his career that he can adapt his driving to changes, and 2022 will not be any different in that regard.

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