1-hamilton 44

Data Crunch: Hamilton lost 82 points since Monaco

1-hamilton 44

Lost in the hysteria of this year’s Formula 1 Championship battle is the pain Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have brought upon themselves, losing 82 points since Monaco, as Max Verstappen enters the final five races of the season with a 12-point advantage.

It all seemed simple from the beginning of 2021, Max Verstappen hunts Lewis Hamilton down on route to an eighth championship. Unfortunately for Lewis, it hasn’t been so easy.

Just as Hamilton shut down Ferrari’s advances in 2017 and 2018, it’s become ever so plausible that Verstappen can take down the goliath Mercedes camp essentially single handedly.

By the time the Portuguese and Spanish GP rolled around, it seemed all but certain that Red Bull and Max Verstappen simply did not have the fight to take to the Mercedes camp. One race later at round five, The Monaco GP, Mercedes fumbled their race pace advantage to Red Bull, and they are yet to recover it.

The 2021 Monaco GP was not only the turning point of Hamilton’s season, it may go on to be the turning point of his career. Lewis has only won two races since Monaco’s disastrous race weekend: Silverstone and Russia. On both occasions, Max was not available to contest the win. In comparison, Max has since won seven races including Monaco.

Below is a continuation of the race by race review analysis of each championship hopeful’s season to date.

French Grand Prix | +7 pts VER v. -7 pts HAM

Free Practice

  • FP1: Verstappen runs wide banging the car floor off the curbs. [Driving error – VER]
  • FP2: Verstappen runs wide again banging the car floor off the curbs resulting in Christian Horner messaging Michael Masi to save the broken bits. [Driving error – VER]

Qualifying

  • Flawless Verstappen on pole, Hamilton P2.

Race

  • Verstappen nearly swaps ends in Turn 1, handing Hamilton the lead. [Driving error – VER]
  • An early race tyre lock up from Valtteri Bottas results in triggering an early first cycle of pit stops. It results in Verstappen undercutting Hamilton for the lead of the race. [Team error – Mercedes]
  • Red Bull decide to two-stop as Verstappen began to struggle with pace. Mercedes opt to run Bottas and Hamilton to the end of the race on a one-stop strategy. As a result, Verstappen steals the race win from Mercedes on strategy. [Team error – Mercedes]

Ex-Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg grilled Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff, accusing him of being greedy to try to undercut Verstappen with an early pit stop from Bottas only to have Hamilton undercut by Verstappen in the process. Under the intense scrutiny of his former driver, Wolff admitted that Bottas flat spotted his tyre, and the situation had become critical for the Finn, leaving the team no choice but to pit him.

Fair enough, but how Mercedes allowed Hamilton to run two additional laps only to get undercut by Verstappen is still baffling, and a costly error. Poor strategy cost Hamilton seven points in a race he was supposed to win.

Styrian Grand Prix | +0 pts VER v. +0 pts HAM

Free Practice

  • FP1: Hamilton runs wide on the curbs in the final sector, lucky to escape with no damage. [Driving error – HAM]
  • FP2: Hamilton runs wide twice in the session. [Driver error – HAM]

Qualifying

  • Q3: Hamilton jumps the cue of cars to begin his final lap. He delivers a poor lap, and pushing hard in the final sector, runs wide solidifying pole position for Verstappen. [Driver error – HAM]

Race

  • Hamilton runs a touch wide in Turn 4 dipping into the gravel but maintains control. [Driver error – HAM]

The Styrian GP was always going to favor Red Bull and Max Verstappen, thus a 0-0 spread on point’s errors as the result was inevitable for both drivers, as Verstappen and Hamilton finished where expected.

Austrian Grand Prix | +0 pts VER v. -6 pts HAM

Free Practice

  • FP1: Hamilton misses Turn 1. [Driver error – HAM]
  • FP2: Hamilton takes a trip through the gravel in Turn 4. [Driver error – HAM]

Qualifying

  • Q3: Alarmingly, Mercedes make the least progress – of all teams – in qualifying pace from the Styrian GP, seven days prior to the Austrian GP.
  • Hamilton qualifies fourth as Max runs away with pole position. [Team error – Mercedes]

Race

  • Hamilton falls victim to late race tyre degradation after another poorly executed race strategy. A sure second-place finishing position turned into a fourth place, as Verstappen scored another dominant victory. [Team error – Mercedes]

The most devastating statistic of the weekend was that Mercedes had progressed the least among all teams in terms of qualifying lap time from the prior weekend. It doesn’t make any sense.

Delivering a mediocre race, it was a weekend to forget for Mercedes, while Verstappen set an unprecedented record by sweeping a triple header for the first time in F1 history.

Great Britain Grand Prix | +6 pts HAM v. +1 pts VER

Qualifying

  • Q3: Hamilton has a huge moment in Vale chicane on his final run. Despite throwing away a double purple sector lap in the final sector Hamilton remained fastest of the session. [Driving error – HAM]

Sprint Qualifying

  • Verstappen jumps Hamilton off the line. Hamilton can’t get close enough to lodge an attack, the result see’s Verstappen steal a point away from Hamilton. [Driving error– HAM]

Race

  • Verstappen once again gets off the line better than Hamilton. Hamilton makes a concerted effort to attack, Hamilton and Verstappen collide at Turn 9, Copse corner. [Racing Incident]

Deemed as a racing incident by many and based on the result of Sprint qualifying, it would seem Hamilton benefitted by seven points from this incident to a total of six after losing one in sprint qualifying. While Verstappen lost a likely 25 points as a result and similarly to his incident in Baku, it would be unfair to consider this a loss of points primarily though a mistake of his own doing.

Hungarian GP | +2 pts VER v. -7 pts HAM

Race

  • Verstappen gets trampled in Turn 1 as a result of an error from Bottas. Despite having significant damage, Verstappen manages to get out of Hungary with two points. [Supreme performance – VER]
  • Immediately preceding the red flag for the initial Turn 1 incident, Lewis is the only driver failing to recognize the track conditions during the warm up lap. In a bizarre visual, every driver diverts into the pit lane to change their tyres from Intermediates to slicks, with the exception of Hamilton. The race begins with Lewis as the only car staged on the grid. [Driving error– HAM]

Once again, while it was another terrible points day for Verstappen, the direct cause was not down to an error. He managed to score two points with a car which perhaps should have been retired. Hamilton should have scored the easiest win of his career. Failing to recognize conditions after the red flag resulted in another handful of points being squandered.

Belgian Grand Prix | +3.5 pts VER v. -5 pts HAM

Free Practice

  • FP1: Hamilton nearly tangles with Nicholas Latifi, wisely backing out and avoiding contact. [Close Call – HAM]
  • FP2: Verstappen crashes at the end of the session, losing the rear in Turn 7 resulting in damage. [Driver Error – VER]

Qualifying

  • Hamilton fails to deliver an appropriate lap resulting in getting beaten by George Russell in a significantly inferior car. [Driver Error – HAM]

Race

  • A minimum lap total is met while lapping under safety car conditions with no actual on track running. Hamilton is regulated to finishing where he qualified. [Driver error – HAM]

Just as in Hungary, another likely win thrown away from the Mercedes squad.

Dutch Grand Prix | +0 pts VER v. +0 pts HAM

Free Practice

  • FP2: Engine oil pressure issue ends running early for Hamilton. [Engine Issue – HAM]

Qualifying

  • Q3: Absolute perfection from Verstappen and Hamilton.

Race

  • Perfection once again from both drivers.

Max Verstappen turned a miniscule advantage into an impressive win. Whether he stole one from Hamilton or not is too close to call.

Italian Grand Prix | -24 pts VER v. -27 pts HAM

Free Practice

  • FP1: Hamilton, testing limits, misses Turn 4. [Driver Error – HAM]
  • FP1: Esteban Ocon expresses displeasure from his cockpit towards Hamilton after feeling he was blocked. [Driver Error – HAM]
  • FP2: Hamilton misses Turn 4 again. [Driver Error – HAM]

Sprint Qualifying

  • A devastating launch from Hamilton drops him from second to fifth by the end of lap one as Verstappen propels from third on the grid to finish second. [Driver Error – HAM]

Race

  • Verstappen loses the sprint to Turn 1 to McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo  and gets stuck behind him. [Driver Error – VER]
  • Verstappen pits for new tyres but loses an agonizing amount of time due to a slow pit stop. [Team Error – Red Bull]
  • Hamilton ascending the order pits looking likely to jump Verstappen and potentially steal second position away from Lando Norris but too suffers a terrible pit stop. [Team Error – Mercedes]
  • Hamilton and Verstappen clash in Turn 1 both registering a DNF. [Driver Error – HAM & VER]

It doesn’t matter how one may rationalize it. Both drivers held a dominant position to win on Sunday at some point in the weekend and threw it away. Despite the long straights of Monza, both Verstappen and Hamilton struggled to make up positions on track, further compounding the importance of track position.

While both drivers suffered from slow pit stops, both drivers ultimately blew it in embarrassing fashion crashing into each other. Verstappen threw away 25 points, with a one-point correction for stealing a point from Hamilton during Sprint qualifying finishing in second position, where Hamilton should have finished.

Hamilton blew it during the sprint race, throwing away two points plus 25 additional points for what was supposed to be a race win on Sunday.

Russian Grand Prix | +12 pts VER v. +0 pts HAM

Free Practice

  • FP2: Lewis tests his jack man’s reflexes. [Driver Error – HAM]
  • FP2: Hamilton runs wide at Turn 7. [Driver Error – HAM]

Qualifying

  • Q3: Hamilton and Mercedes miss the dry tyre switch due to an error on the first of a double lap run and qualify fourth. [Driver Error – HAM]
  • Q3: Hamilton crashes into the wall on the pit entrance. [Driver Error – HAM]
  • Q3: Hamilton spins at the end of his final lap. [Driver Error – HAM]

Race

  • Hamilton loses 3 positions at the start of the race. [Driver Error – HAM]
  • Hamilton appearing to be running for a second position result benefits greatly by a team call to pit for intermediate tyres as rain falls late in the race. [Great Call – Mercedes]
  • Verstappen and Red Bull decide to pit due to the rain resulting in Verstappen being propelled from a likely seventh-place finish to second. [Great Call – VER and Red Bull]

In what has become a trend in 2021, Mercedes and Lewis just about tossed away another apparent certain victory. Verstappen meanwhile became trapped in seventh position on worn tyres towards the end of the race after starting dead last.

Red Bull decided to fit the Dutchman with a new power unit after receiving a three-place grid penalty due to the collision with Hamilton in the previous race in Italy. Verstappen was one of the early stoppers for Intermediate tyres as rain began to fall towards the closing stages of the race. Verstappen miraculously turned a certain seventh-place finish into a podium result.

Turkey Grand Prix | +0 pts VER v. -5 pts HAM

Free Practice

  • FP3: Verstappen performs a perfect 360 degree spin. [Driver Error – VER]

Qualifying

  • Q1: Verstappen has a spin as Hamilton struggles in extremely difficult damp conditions. [Driver Error – VER]

Race

  • Hamilton and Mercedes turn a likely third position finishing result into fifth. [Bad Call – HAM & Mercedes]

Max finished second, the reality being he and Red Bull didn’t have the performance available to challenge Bottas for victory.

Hamilton and Mercedes fell under severe scrutiny due to a botched race strategy ultimately ending in Hamilton arguing with his engineer on the final laps, as points were once again squandered needlessly.

If the post-race criticism wasn’t bad enough, it was another five points Hamilton simply gave away.

United States Grand Prix | +0 pts VER v. +0 pts HAM

Free Practice

  • FP2: Verstappen and Hamilton argue over track space. [Shenanigans – VER & HAM]
  • FP3: Session leading lap from Hamilton deleted for track limits at Turn 9. [Driver Error – HAM]

Race

  • Verstappen gets beaten to Turn 1 by Hamilton. [Driver Error – VER]
  • Mercedes get undercut by Red Bull, a strategic move which results in a Verstappen race win. [Team Error – Mercedes]

While many had pegged Mercedes for pole position in Austin, the reality is that the reigning world champions have not once closed the qualifying gaps to Red Bull in regards to year-on-year qualifying time losses.

It’s a trend that is yet to be broken this year. Hamilton delivered the goods in Turn 1 but the race played out from there in a complete reversal of the opening round of the Bahrain GP.

Years of dominance may also be contributing, as Mercedes have shown hesitance when taking any level of risk.

Meanwhile Red Bull took a big risk undercutting Hamilton which paid off with a win. The race result was too close to call to award point losses for mistakes.

Mistake Balance Sheet

VerstappenHamilton
Bahrain GP-7 pts+7 pts
Emilia Romagna GP+7 pts-7 pts
Portuguese GP+3 pts+0 pts
Spanish GP+0 pts+0 pts
Monaco GP+0 pts-6 pts
Azerbaijan GP+0 pts-25 pts
French GP+7 pts-7 pts
Styrian GP+0 pts+0 pts
Austrian GP+0 pts-6 pts
British GP+1 pts+6 pts
Hungarian GP+2 pts-7 pts
Belgian GP+3.5 pts-5 pts
Dutch GP+0 pts+0 pts
Italian GP-24 pts-27 pts
Russian GP+12 pts+0 pts
Turkish GP+0 pts-5 pts
United States GP+0 pts+0 pts
Total+4.5 pts-82 pts

Lewis Hamilton shouldn’t have won the opening round in Bahrain. Meanwhile, an error in Imola saw his points’ wins and losses neutralized through the first four races at zero points. The following 13 races, starting at Monaco, have seen an array of errors from both Hamilton and Mercedes cost the Briton’s campaign 82 points.

The numbers are devastating. It’s a true testament to the absolute hell Red Bull and Verstappen have brought down on their rivals this year. Lost in the numbers are the many points Verstappen has lost himself in the various incidents that were largely out of his control.

The +4.5 net points’ balance this year completely ignores the 50 points he missed in Silverstone and Baku. He’s also missed at least 16 points from Hungary. That’s a total of 66 points that have been lost by Red Bull and Verstappen from circumstances out of their control.

An epic showdown awaits with a triple header, followed by a double header to close out the season. It’s going to take a complete turnaround in form from Hamilton and Mercedes, as Red Bull and Verstappen are without question, and 100% in the driver’s seat for this championship.

Although Murray Walker did have a saying…