The start of the 2022 Formula 1 season was not the easiest for a Lewis Hamilton who encountered the radical Mercedes W13 and its porpoising problems in all races. However, over time, the German team managed to resolve some of these setbacks, and before the summer break they already had a single-seater capable of standing up to the leaders at certain times, as happened in Spain, Great Britain or in the last appointment in Hungary.
At the Hungaroring circuit, the Briton saw his teammate, George Russell, take the first pole position of his career and of the year for the Silver Arrows, which is indicative of the step forward for the star team. The seven-time world champion could only finish seventh in Saturday’s standings, but it was a DRS fault that prevented him from chasing, or even overtaking, his compatriot.
Telemetry data shows just how quick Lewis Hamilton was on his first run in Q3, when he fell within two tenths of Russell. Already in the last launched lap, the mobile spoiler did not activate on the car of the seven-time champion, which resulted in a loss of about 20 km/h, and ended up aborting the turn.
After the qualifying session, the most experienced of the duo recognized that they could have won a double on the front row had it not been for that problem with the DRS. And it is that, if we extrapolate Russell’s improvement to Hamilton, he would not have been far from that statement, since only Carlos Sainz would have slipped between both German cars.
However, the reality was totally different, and the Stevenage rider had to start from seventh place, which seriously compromised his options. Traffic didn’t help at the start either, as Lando Norris blocked him until he pitted on lap 11 , allowing Hamilton to match Russell’s pace, despite the fact that they had different tires (medium and soft). , respectively).
The first important stoppage came on lap 16 , when the leader of the Silver Arrows went to the pitlane to set up a media game, something that the seven-time champion repeated on lap 19 , although the key came a little later, when the pilots headlong they engaged in a battle that only benefited Hamilton and Verstappen.
Russell and Leclerc staged a nice duel for the fans, but bad in terms of lap time, which caused everything to compact and, thanks to an overcut by the seven-time world champion, he overtook his teammate.
To this we must add the terrible strategy and pitfalls of Ferrari with his duo, something that buried all the chances of a podium against the Mercedes.
Throughout the fight for victory, both the Red Bulls and George Russell lost many seconds, the necessary ones for Lewis Hamilton to be one of the smartest on the asphalt to extend his last stop in the pitlane until lap 51 , when he put a soft compound used to endure until the end and see the finish line in second place, only behind an almighty Max Verstappen, who came back from tenth place.
If the Briton had stopped earlier, he would have been caught in the middle of that fight for the podium with the Ferraris, Sergio Pérez and his partner, which would not have allowed him to create the necessary cushion to climb to second place in which he finally finished. the test at the Hungaroring.
However, without the DRS problems, could Lewis Hamilton have won? The simulations of Formula 1 itself are a reflection of what Mercedes is, a serious candidate if things go well, and that is that without the traffic, the seven-time world champion could have generated that necessary gap to withstand Max Verstappen, even with the same strategy that he carried out.
With the tire advantage in the closing laps and the virtual safety car, Hamilton could have overtaken the Dutchman to win the first race of the year and break one of his worst droughts in Grand Circus wins, which stretches from the race in Jeddah last year.
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