The seven-time world champion ruled out any chance of winning the 2022 title after finishing a low 13th place at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where he was unable to pass people like AlphaTauris Pierre Gasly and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll in theoretically faster machinery .
The Silver Arrows have won eight consecutive constructors’ championships since 2014, dominating the F1 with the fastest car in every single season of the hybrid era. But 2022 has brought with it the biggest regulatory change of a generation in Formula 1, and so far this season Mercedes is far away from rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.
F1 has returned to ground effect car design for 2022 for the first time since the 1980s in an attempt to allow cars to follow each other more closely and for drivers to drive harder against each other. So far, the changes seem to have the desired effect, with Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen engaging in exciting tactical battles for the lead in all three of the preliminary rounds.
But the aerodynamic shift has resulted in a peculiar peculiarity known as the ‘guinea pig’, which sees cars bouncing violently up and down when driving at high speeds due to the air balance under the floor shifting back and forth. While some teams have managed to solve or mitigate the problem, Mercedes’ W13 car suffers worse than most and is simply slower through turns than Ferrari and Red Bull’s machinery.
Despite Mercedes’ battles, Hamilton’s teammate George Russell has managed to finish in the top five in all four races so far this season, including an impressive fourth place finish at Imola on Sunday after starting as eleventh. Rosberg, who drove with Hamilton for four seasons with Mercedes and beat him to the title before retiring immediately in 2016, believes Russell’s form shows that Hamilton can do more with the current car.
“Let’s not forget that Russell is in P4 with the same car, so Lewis certainly had a big role to play in the poor result this weekend,” Rosberg told Sky Sports F1. ‘Russell still managed to get P4 out of it with a brilliant weekend, so there was more in that car.’
Team manager Toto Wolff apologized to Hamilton over the radio after the checkered flag and called the car ‘not drivable’. But Rosberg believes the Austrian is trying to protect Hamilton from criticism for performances that have been below par.
‘Toto is just trying to lift him up because it’s so important to try to make sure Lewis maintains that motivation throughout the season; it is important for the team, ‘said Rosberg. ‘It’s pretty easy for Lewis to lose [motivation] in such situations. ‘
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