No sensational triumphs. No radio messages that state “What a brilliant drive, Lewis” or, “Get in there, Lewis,” something we’ve grown accustomed of hearing in the past fifteen years or so.
And that’s not all.
Most notably, no pole positions or grand slams either in any Grand Prix held so far despite a racing craft that’s redoubtable and second to none.
For a driver who made winning a habit given his audaciously high standards of operating in Formula 1, it is a tad bit strange (sad even) to find Lewis Hamilton winless in 2022 so far.
Instead of race wins and front row starts that happen race upon race, the seven-time world champion’s usual modus operandi, the frequently-occurring headline pertaining to the Mercedes man has pointed to a one-way street.
Lest it is undermined, the porpoising problems in that Mercedes.
And yet, despite the damning indignation that is driving around in circles in a car bouncier than perhaps most others, here’s Lewis Hamilton after eleven races of the season.
He’s still found a way to be P6 on the Driver’s Standings. He’s still found a way to score well beyond a century of points after little over a quarter of a year of racing.
Lewis Hamilton has 109 points against his name.
That’s when he’s found himself in the barriers much like the recent free practice incident at Austria 2022, where he lost control of his car at turn seven.
That’s when his car has often backstabbed him particularly on the straights on many a track.
And that’s when Hamilton has neither had a front row start nor snatched poles in any of the Grands Prix held so far in 2022.
For someone found struggling- if not complacent- in comparison to Mercedes newcomer George Russell, the driver who’s often bested the seven time world champion without much ado, Lewis Hamilton has bounced back.
He’s forced his way back to a spot where he might not be vying for top two honours on the grid, but is no longer that driver who seemed perpetually embattled like at the start.
What that does is that it allows his Mercedes team to soar to a point of ascendency where the spotlight doesn’t only follow Ferrari or Red Bull.
For a driver one saw tussling, not so long ago, in a desperate scrap for track position with Haas’ Mick Schumacher at the Austrian sprint, Hamilton just collected another vital P3.
To suggest Lewis has turned the tables on his much younger teammate George Russell would be a touch irrational or perhaps even unsophisticated.
But what won’t be irrelevant at all would be stating that the seven time world champion is no longer found wanting or struggling against a driver whose experience vis-a-vis Hamilton’s is akin to the size of a tiny lake when compared to the ocean.
Hamilton is now just 19 points adrift of the very versatile and spirited George Russell.
At a time where much of our attention- and perhaps rightly so- remained glued to the Verstappen versus Leclerc battle- perhaps a subject that’ll continue to dominate news as the season unfolds- Lewis Hamilton seems in no mood to throw in the towel.
That’s when of most drivers on a grid that can be just as thrilling as it can be upsetting on any given day, Hamilton found himself on close to the edge over very nearly over it.
The heartbreak of the 2021 season ender at Abu Dhabi wasn’t the easiest of things to grapple with.
For all things dubbed a setback and often too lamely, losing to Verstappen at the title finale at the Yas Marina and that too, under dramatic circumstances was a setback like no other Hamilton had faced.
Thereafter arrived the ghastliest revelation of them all; a 2022 Mercedes challenger that lacked the biting pace and consistency with which one could challenge the authority of Red Bull and Ferrari.
No true champion aspires to come third in a contest for it’s victory that one constantly searches.
Though for a driver who was unable to break into even the top five on the grid on a regular basis, it’s soul stirring to say the least how Lewis Hamilton has fought his way back.
He’s collected, for the first time this season, a hat trick of podium finishes.
Post the fighting P4 at Baku, Hamilton has gone on to score a third at Canada, Great Britain and as seen recently, another P3 at Austria.
Meanwhile, Russell, who, at the back of his sterling consistency had made Lewis a bit of struggler has collected a P3, P4, a DNF and P4 in the said races in the respective order.
Moreover, Hamilton’s even worked on improving his qualifying. That’s despite battling a car that often seems very roadcar-esque on qualifying pace on most Saturdays. At Canada, he began from fourth on the grid, which would be followed by a fifth place start at his home race event at Silverstone.
But the performance that truly captures the strides he’s taken forwards came just hours ago at Austria.
Despite qualifying in ninth on the grid, a slot he’d improve thanks to Alonso’s struggles on the formation lap, which meant the Briton would begin from eighth, Hamilton raced on to bag another podium finish.
Just how often does one find a driver on the podium on Sunday when he was found amid the barriers on a Friday practice session?
But this is no ordinary man; it’s the man who, time and again embodied the philosophy he lives by: Still, I rise.
And where the recent race results stand, it’s hard to cast a blind eye from the fact that Lewis is on the charge and is rising!
“First, I want to say a big thank you to the women and men in the garage who worked so hard to rebuild the car. I needed a brand-new car on Saturday morning, unfortunately.
That’s something I don’t do often, but I’m just thankful for how hard everybody worked. It was tough in the Sprint yesterday, but today felt better.
We had decent pace at different points of the race, even if I was racing a little bit in no-man’s land. It’s been a bit of a rough weekend for the team – but I’m grateful we got third and fourth today. That’s great points, and we have improved the car. Now we need to keep chipping away to get back to the front,” exclaimed Lewis at the conclusion of the Spielberg contest.