Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, knows he has a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to catch Mercedes teammate George Russell, who is currently 21 points ahead of him after four races.

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was probably as awful as Lewis Hamilton’s career has gotten in terms of consistency, brilliance, and unrivalled success.

It’s terrible enough that you finished 13th without any serious incident to blame. The stomach punch would have been the huge gap between him and his colleague, George Russell, who finished fourth after another outstanding race.

With four races already down in the 2022 season, Russell now leads Hamilton by 21 points, having beaten him in the previous three rounds.

After the chequered flag, the seven-time champion expressed regret for his own performance. Max Verstappen lapped him and he spent an age stranded behind Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri.

Is it a stretch to say Russell has outperformed Hamilton this season? It’s almost there. For the 37-year-old, things aren’t as awful as they appear. Hamilton was unlucky to finish behind Russell in Australia after leading in the early stages after beating him on Saturday and Sunday in Bahrain.

Russell, on the other hand, was on pace with his teammate on both of Hamilton’s “better” weekends. Hamilton was distant on Russell’s finest weekends.

There have been a few instances of bad luck, but they only aggravated his condition at Imola and Jeddah, when Esteban Ocon was released into his path in the pitlane and took the lead. It’s partly his fault that he was so far back and in the middle of a midfield brawl.

Russell hasn’t been perfect, but he’s conquered his flaws and, more significantly, the constraints of the vehicle. Russell is approaching the W13’s limit. This is not the case with Hamilton.

Russell completed three seasons with a bottom ranking team, Williams before being promoted to Mercedes. In 2021, he made headlines with his outstanding qualifying performances – particularly in the rain at Spa and in Sochi – earning him the moniker “Mr Saturday” for his ability to squeeze every last hundredth of a second out of subpar machinery in a single lap.

He’s taken those talents and applied them to the entire weekend this year.

The Williams was the poorest car in the field in 2019 and 2020. Russell claims that the experience helped him build abilities that he would not have been able to employ now if he had joined a front-running team right away.

Despite being the third fastest car rather than the tenth fastest, the Mercedes has severe issues. Russell, more than his decorated compatriot, is figuring out how to get around them. Hamilton has rarely needed the talents Russell developed at Williams, despite his recent success.

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