The Brits are still dry in F1, but will have a golden opportunity to break the deadlock in Brazil

NOS game

  • Lewis Decker

    Reporter Formula 1

  • Lewis Decker

    Reporter Formula 1

First pinbrick awarded: George Russell wins the sprint race in Sao Paulo and starts with teammate Lewis Hamilton on the front row at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Mercedes drivers have a golden opportunity to prevent a season without Grand Prix wins.

Max Verstappen’s record harvest and Red Bull Racing’s dominance is having painful consequences for Great Britain’s Formula 1 fans this season. No British driver has won a GP this season.

It’s not unique, but it’s been a long time since the United Kingdom has been dry in motorsport’s premier class.

AFP

George Russell after winning the sprint race at the Brazilian Grand Prix

We have to go back to 2005 in F1 history. Fernando Alonso became world champion at Renault that season, while Jenson Button was the Briton in the final World Cup points (9th) and Robert Doornbos was 25th. Dornbos was the only driver with zero points.

In 2006, Button managed to avoid another humiliation for the cradle of F1 with a victory in Hungary. Then the harvest began, thanks mainly to Lewis Hamilton. He has won at least one Grand Prix every year since his debut in 2007, but the tide has turned. The seven-time world champion did not participate this season.

It was the same for teammate George Russell until the sprint race. Third Briton Lando Norris didn’t stand a chance with his much slower McLaren.

Pleasant surprise

Hamilton – who rose from eighth to third in the sprint race and further advanced due to a stage penalty for Carlos Sainz – calls it a pleasant surprise. “I didn’t expect us to do great here. I expected rain. I didn’t think we could beat Verstappen on our own. George’s win was an incredible result.”

AFP

December 5, 2021: Lewis Hamilton wins Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, Max Verstappen looks on

Hamilton has struggled with his W13 all season. According to him, the car is very irregular. “It’s been a really tough season. We’ve been surprised by our capricious car at every track. Sometimes the gap is huge, sometimes surprisingly small. There’s no level to draw from.”

Disappointment lurks for a driver accustomed to winning, but Hamilton says it doesn’t bother him. “I’ve often felt this year how satisfying a fourth or fifth place can be. Or a podium place, after a long time. It felt like a win for us. And George’s sprint win was a big boost.”

After a year full of defeats, victory would be extra sweet, Hamilton knew. “I think we’re winners this year anyway. That’s how I see it. The outside world will judge it differently, but I know how resilient we’ve shown after a bad start to the season.”

AFP

Lewis Hamilton is honored as an honorary citizen of Brazil

“Of course it’s been tough, but everyone’s stuck with it and given it their all. Nobody’s given up. I’m really proud of that. The journey we make as a team is more important than the result on the scoreboard. It’s great to bounce back like that and it’s better than winning every race.”

“I know what it’s like to be in that position and I reckon Max will improve his record to at least 15 GP wins in the coming races.” Hamilton himself adjusted his targets. “We are trying to take second place in the World Constructors’ Championship from Ferrari, but that will be very difficult. The focus of the team has already shifted to 2023. That should be our comeback year.”

Russel’s acquittal

Hamilton’s team-mate Russell was dreaming of victories at the end of 2021 when he switched from rear-guard staple Williams to top team Mercedes, but things turned out differently. “Of course I expected more, but the bulls were unbeatable and I had some boring races myself. I was disappointed,” says the 24-year-old talent.

According to Russell, the so-called ‘porpoising’ of W13 is this year’s Achilles heel. “It took us a long time to make sure the car jumped less. I mean we were nowhere sometimes, but we closed the gap a lot. We got off to a bad start, but now we’re in a better position. We fought with teams like Alfa Romeo and Haas at the beginning of the season. Now we’re competing with Ferrari. “

Reuters

Mercedes celebrates sprint race win in Brazil

Russell is optimistic about 2023. “Next year we are going for the title. Although we realize that it will be very difficult to beat Red Bull Racing and Verstappen, there is no reason why we can’t.”

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