Former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has claimed that the 2022 Miami GP saw a “definitive changing of the guard” at Mercedes. George Russell managed to once again overhaul his illustrious teammate Lewis Hamilton to score his fifth consecutive top-five finish.
In an analysis piece for formule1, Villeneuve wrote:
“I think we have seen the definitive changing of the guard at Mercedes. George Russell is riding the wave; Lewis Hamilton is trying not to drown.”
Mercedes’ form in 2022 has been one of their worst in nearly 10 years, with the reigning world champions failing to match either Red Bull or Ferrari for outright pace.
The team’s lack of competitive pace seems to have affected Lewis Hamilton the most. His young teammate, George Russell, seems to be coping with it much better.
After dominating F1 for the most part across the last eight seasons, Hamilton has struggled to put together consistent performances so far this season.
Attributing Hamilton’s recent struggles to his “championship luck” finally running out, Villeneuve said:
“Lewis’ championship luck seems to have disappeared, he doesn’t have the momentum and it’s not falling his way. After many years of winning without competition, it is hard to wake up and realise it is not that simple.
“It will be a tough fight, but Lewis is a racer and a champion.”
Lewis Hamilton needs a different approach to overcome Mercedes’ woes
Jacques Villeneuve believes Lewis Hamilton will need to revisit his roots and drive the way he did during his first few years in F1 to overcome Mercedes’ struggles in 2022.
“He now has to drive like he did in his first two years in Formula 1, something Russell is doing now. In the race, Russell made the decision – let me stay out, maybe there will be a Safety Car, and it paid off.
“He knows what needs to be done and we will see if he still has the energy to do it.”
Lewis Hamilton is the only driver in F1 history to have won a race in every season that he has contested in F1. However, that record could finally come to an end this season given the Silver Arrows' current form.