Far from their level of last season, Mercedes had a contrasting year. Not in the match with the two leading teams during the first races, the German firm made its science of work and progress speak for itself to return to the top of the basket after the summer break. The victorious arrival of George Russell has also breathed new life into the team which, with Lewis Hamilton, can now count on two drivers capable of competing for the world title.
Mercedes (3rd, 515 points): the star has not shone as much this year
Fighting for the title until the last Grand Prix in 2021, Mercedes was unrecognizable at the start of the 2022 season. In Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were unable to fight Max Verstappen. Worse still, the two Britons saw their counterparts at Ferrari easily ahead of them. Considered the third force on the plateau, the Germans lowered their heads to seek solutions to their problems, starting with that of porpoising. Little by little, the firm with the star has reduced the gap until it is back in the exhausts of the two leaders.
Lewis Hamilton often thought he would win, especially at Silverstone or Zandvoort in the middle of the year. Because Mercedes remains Mercedes and when performance is not there, the drivers compensate with their intrinsic talent while the team’s strategists improve the results thanks to perfect tactics. In Hungary, Toto Wolff savored this return to the fore when George Russell signed an unexpected pole position at the start of the season. This same pilot who will offer the only victory of the year to the Germans at the Grand Prix of Brazil. Very successful at the end of the season, Mercedes proved that even starting from afar, they could come back into the game. It remains to be seen what level of competitiveness the 2023 single-seater will have
George Russell (4th, 275 points): pole, victory and successful year
Arriving against Lewis Hamilton in the most successful team of the last decade is never easy. However, George Russell managed this key stage of his career perfectly. The young Brit was better able to understand his car at the start of the season. It must be said that the native of King’s Lynn was used to having to fight with a capricious car like the Williams. He experienced the joys of his first podium with the star firm in Australia with a 3rd place. A position in which he finished four other times before the summer break (Catalonia, Azerbaijan, France and Hungary). On the Hungarian turnstile, the carrier of N°63 even offered his first pole position after a sumptuous lap.
In Brazil, the 24-year-old entered the circle of Grand Prix winners, as well as that of sprint race winners. By passing the checkered flag twice as leader, George Russell concluded his first season with Mercedes in the best of ways.
George Russell perfectly managed the small gap that separated him from his teammate to claim his first victory in Formula 1, giving Mercedes the double in the process#FormulaOne – GP Brazil pic.twitter.com/78pE6Dy09i
– INFOSPORT+ (@infosportplus) November 13, 2022
Lewis Hamilton (6th, 240 points): no victory but still great motivation
For the first time since his arrival in Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton has not won a single race this season. The Briton passed very close, in Zandvoort, Austin or Mexico City in particular. But each time, an element deprived him of this success so awaited by him and by the LH44 team. Faced with his disarray at the start of the season, several questions have arisen about a possible retirement of the British legend. But as the races progressed and Mercedes gradually returned, Lewis Hamilton showed more certainty about his future in Formula 1. He quickly cleared up the doubt: he will be there next season. At 37, the native of Stevenage is, according to him, in the best physical shape of his career. His nine podiums prove that King Lewis has lost none of its drive. His good understanding with George Russell also allowed Mercedes to progress more quickly. Despite the difficulties, the seven-time world champion has learned a lot during this 2022 campaign. He says it himself, he has never been so motivated to return to the top of the rankings. His insatiable desire to win is not in doubt, he will be there in 2023 for one thing: to seek an 8th world title.
Season 2023: return to the top as the only ambition
Like Ferrari, Mercedes is that type of team that lives only for victory. When you have won eight constructors’ titles in a row, not going for the ninth marks a real setback. Toto Wolff has every intention of returning to conquer a new world crown next season. Even if Red Bull seems to be ahead of the competition, the charismatic Austrian is not one to give up. When they seemed out of the game, the Germans took less than a year to play up front again. A performance that Ferrari has never managed to achieve in recent years. This means that the method of the firm with the star is perfectly established to bring them back to the roof of F1.
For this, the Brackley team can rely on a duo of motivated, talented and ultra-competitive drivers. In 2023, Lewis Hamilton not only wants to taste the flavor of victory, he wants to pocket an 8th world title. A coronation which would crown him king of Formula 1, without possible dispute. The Briton is overflowing with motivation and is not the type to leave on a failure. The question of retirement is not yet on the table, he still sees himself there for years to make Mercedes triumph. He also has the same ambition, winner this year, George Russell will want to get involved in this fight every weekend. If the car is better than this season, the young Englishman will not be asked to beat the competition. Because yes, within the team itself, the student wants to surpass the master.