LEWIS HAMILTON was less motivated in 2022 but gave George Russell a wake-up call once he recovered, according to Sky Sports’ Karun Chandhok.
The F1 pundit compared the seven-times world champion to legendary driver Ayrton Senna after Hamilton faced a series of new challenges last season.
AFPIn his first season at Mercedes, George Russell got the edge on his far more experienced teammate Lewis Hamilton[/caption]
Not only did he have to get over the gut-wrenching end to the 2021 season, Hamilton also had new teammate Russell to contend with.
And most alarmingly for the 37-year-old, he was also tussling with a Mercedes car which was uncompetitive after sweeping rule changes.
Former F1 driver Chandhok, who has been a pundit on Sky since 2019, believes these factors contributed to Hamilton’s sluggish start to the season.
The Former HRT racer told Sky Sports: “Lewis, at the start of the year, I’m sure his motivation wasn’t there. And I can understand that.
“It reminded me of Senna in 1993, this was a guy who was the number one driver of his generation, he arrives at the opening race and goes ‘God, I’m only capable of qualifying on the third row of the grid.’
“Where’s the motivation? Then we got to Barcelona, they turned a little bit of the corner and he rose to the challenge.
“At the start of the year, it was looking really good for Russell, he was regularly outqualifying Lewis.
“I think he had a bit of a wake-up call in that middle part of the year when Lewis lifted his game, and I think George went on a run where he couldn’t get ahead. I think he thought ‘woah, I’ve woken the beast!’”
Hamilton’s form picked up hugely in the second half of the season and he was desperately close to wins at Silverstone, Austin and Brazil.
But ultimately it was Russell who enjoyed Mercedes’ only victory of the season at Interlagos.
And he grabbed the constructor’s only pole of the campaign in Hungary.
The win in Brazil helped Russell finish 35 points clear of Hamilton.
It is the first time Hamilton has been beaten on points by a teammate since 2016, and the first time ever he has not picked up a single win in an F1 season.