Lewis Hamilton had a miserable 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, never in contention and then retiring from car issues, a reminder of his season which he’s glad is over.
The seven-time Formula 1 Champion had contact with Carlos Sainz on lap one, going through the run-off area, his W13 bouncing off the track, damaging the floor.
That meant he was on the back foot, but with two laps remaining, his W13 developed a hydraulics problem meaning he had to retire.
“This last race was just a good reminder of the whole year and I’m glad it’s over and that we can now look forward to next year,” Hamilton said in Mercedes’ race report.
“I had a strong start, but the car floor took a big hit during the contact with Carlos and everything else unfolded from there,” he added.
“When it happens, you just lose a little bit of performance, but the balance basically shifts forwards. It’s almost like you have loads of front wing and I had to wait for the stop to take out front wing – which did improve the balance.
“We had a difficult car all weekend and unfortunately, I had to retire right before the race finish because we lost hydraulic pressure,” Hamilton pointed out. “We will have the next couple of weeks at the factory, where we will work hard to make sure we can come back stronger next year so we will focus on that.
“I hope that the struggle this year will provide us with the strength and the tools to fight for more victories in the future – the team in Brackley and Brixworth deserve it, given how hard they’ve worked all year.
“So, we continue to get up and try – we need to show our strength across this winter and into next season,” the Briton concluded.
Russell: Lots of improvements to making during the winter
George Russell finished the race fifth for Mercedes, having started from sixth, but lamented a day when Mercedes did more wrong than right, as he was also slapped with a five-second time penalty for unsafe release in Lando Norris’ way during a pit stop.
“This could have almost been a memorable race, but we probably got more wrong than right today,” Russell said. “We didn’t have the pace this weekend and tried as hard as we could, but this was actually one of the toughest race of the season for us.
“It’s a shame how the race panned out for me,” the Mercedes driver regretted. “I had a strong start fighting Carlos, but with the long first pit-stop and the five-second penalty meant the race was over for me.
“This race brought us back to reality, after our high in Brazil at a track that suited our car much better,” the winner of the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix admitted. “Today simply highlighted what we already knew: that we have lots of improvements to make during the winter.
“Everyone in the team in Brackley and Brixworth is pushing as hard as they can and we’re headed in the right direction. And we are confident, we will have a stronger car next year,” the 24-year-old concluded.
A race that summed up our season. 😔 pic.twitter.com/48VAI6PUa7
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 20, 2022