‘It was like a ghost was in the car' – Hamilton explains the challenging development path of the W13
Lewis Hamilton has reflected on Mercedes’ turbulent development path in 2022, the first winless campaign of the seven-time champion’s F1 career.
Mercedes couldn’t add to their tally of eight constructors’ championships in 2022 with George Russell taking the team’s only win – a one-two finish at Sao Paulo – while Hamilton ended up sixth in the championship for the first time ever.
The challenging year led the veteran to say, “Ultimately, I think we started with a car that we didn’t want and we finished with a car that we didn’t want,” while his Team Principal Toto Wolff vowed they would do better in 2023.
In a recent interview with the team, Hamilton explained that there were small moments of hope despite the W13’s difficulties. “The first big step was Barcelona, that was our first hint of there being more potential in the car. It turned out to be a bit of a false positive; the car was good there but then the races afterwards were difficult," he said.
“It was like a ghost was in the car, and it kept coming back. But then there was France, and that felt like a good step with our first double podium of the season. And then there was Austin, too, with the update we had working well.”
But despite the struggles he and the team faced, Hamilton said that the past season has been “empowering”.
"It's been impressive, for sure. I always knew that we could do it. I never doubted that we would get there in the end, but there was lots of trial and error, and so much failure this year,” said the Briton.
“There were times we brought upgrades and they didn't work, and times we tried different things and it didn't work. I tried so many things and failed so many times but through that you learn and grow. That's what it's been about this year. It's been about failure, breaking down egos, strengthening our relationships, and strengthening our communications. From that perspective it's been really empowering."
Mercedes are yet to announce a reveal date for their 2023 F1 car but a familiar name has returned to the squad, with ex-Haas racer Mick Schumacher joining as reserve driver.