“Is there even a point for that position?” Hamilton’s worst start to a season for 13 years

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix stats and facts

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Having salvaged an unexpected podium finish from the opening race of the season, Lewis Hamilton could be satisfied with his early damage limitation as Mercedes began 2022 with an unexpectedly uncompetitive car.

However his form took a nosedive at round two, where he crossed the line in a lowly 10th place. “Is there even a point for that position?” he asked his race engineer as he awaited confirmation of his result.

There was, but only one, which was a rare low for a driver as accustomed to success as he is. It’s been a long time since he opened his championship with two results as lowly as this.

His haul of 16 points from the first two races is his lowest since the current scoring system was introduced. Third and 10th is also his worst pair of results at the start of the year since 2009, his first world championship defence, when he was disqualified in the season opener and took seventh next time out. He finished third on the road at Melbourne in 2009, so without that penalty this would be his worst ever start to a championship.

Moss once shared a point with six other drivers
Two of the other British drivers in the field finished ahead of him: George Russell in fifth and Lando Norris seventh. Their combined efforts helped move Britain past the landmark total of 10,000 points scored by its drivers, becoming the first country to reach that mark.

The exact total of points scored by British drivers in the world championship stands at 10,001.78. How did that peculiar decimal score, eleven-fourteenths of a point, come about?

The fractions were contributed by Hamilton, Stirling Moss and Mike Hawthorn. Hamilton had a half-point as part of his score at Spa-Francorchamps last year, when half points were controversially awarded despite no laps of racing taking place.

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Moss and Hawthorn also picked up half-points scores in their time. Hawthorn took fourth place in a shared drive with Jose Froilan Gonzalez, coincidentally at Spa, in 1954. Moss took his half point when he and Bruce McLaren were both credited with fastest lap at the 1959 United States Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022
Verstappen now has as many wins as Raikkonen
The bonus point for fastest lap also explains the final missing two-sevenths of a point scored by British drivers. At the 1954 British Grand Prix no fewer than seven drivers were credited with the fastest lap, as they were only timed to one second. Among the seven were Hawthorn and Moss, claimed one-seventh of a point each, which explains how Britain ends up with a total of 10,001 plus eleven-fourteenths of a point.

Having posted a zero at the season-opener, Max Verstappen bounced back with victory in Saudi Arabia. He delivered the first win for Red Bull as an engine supplier, as it now brands its Honda-sourced power units.

This was the 21st victory of Verstappen’s career, putting him level with Kimi Raikkonen. It was the first win for car number one in Formula 1 since Sebastian Vettel won the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix, also for Red Bull.

The day before his team mate Sergio Perez scored the first pole position of his career at his 215th attempt. He is the 103rd different driver to start a race from pole and the first Mexican to do so.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022
Perez took his first pole, and second front-row start
Perez smashed the record for longest wait to achieve a pole position. The record was previously held by Mark Webber, whose first pole came at his 132nd attempt, at the 2009 German Grand Prix and, again, in a Red Bull.

Two years ago Perez broke Webber’s record for the longest wait to score a grand prix victory. He did so at the Sakhir Grand Prix, his 190th start, for Racing Point.

With the Ferrari drivers filling the rest of the top three, the rostrum featured no Mercedes-powered drivers for the first time in 41 races. The 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, where Hamilton finished third on the road before a time penalty promoted Carlos Sainz Jnr, was the last time Mercedes powered no one to the podium.

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Over to you

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2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on ““Is there even a point for that position?” Hamilton’s worst start to a season for 13 years”

  1. Hamilton’s first Q1 elimination since 2017 Brazilian GP, although the last time he got eliminated this early without crashing or having an issue in Q1 happened eight years earlier on the same track.
    Furthermore, his lowest finishing position since the 2017 Mexican GP in which he finished P9 when coincidently, Kevin Magnussen also finished a position higher than him.

    Stroll became the only lapped driver through his late collision with Albon, so everyone who reached the chequered flag would’ve finished on the lead lap without that.

    The second time in three races, Haas has started a race with a single driver & via Tsunoda’s DNS (his second in F1), 18 drivers eventually started the race, the lowest since the 2015 Australian GP.

    In last season’s inaugural Saudi Arabian GP, Ocon got passed by Bottas on the final lap.
    This time around, Ocon passed Norris on the final lap, albeit into the last corner rather than on the run towards the timing line.

    In the last Abu Dhabi GP, Latifi caused an SC period that benefitted an RBR driver (albeit with RD help), while this time, an SC neutralization caused by him hampered an RBR driver.

    With a race-winning time of 1:24:19.293, this race became one of the shorter races with full race distance.
    I reckon below 1h20min would’ve happened without any SC & VSC neutralizations.

    1. It’s Hamilton’s worst finishing position since Azerbaijan last year where he finished 15th after falling to the back of the field on the restart.

      1. @Michael Of course, silly me (again).

    2. @jerejj If I remember correctly the 2009 Brazilian GP Q1 elimination was because he (and also Vettel, Kovalainen and Fisichella) started their final quali laps just as the rain was intensifying, and were unable to improve. In that regard this wasn’t the last Q1 elimination for Hamilton in the same fashion, that was Malaysia 2010, when he, Alonso and Massa were eliminated after failing to read the conditions. The actual last time Lewis didn’t make Q2 on pure pace was Britain 2009

      1. Good catch. I checked through every single 2009 QLF result & thus also noted the British GP Q1 elimination (I probably should’ve done so for every single season since to also noted the following season’s Malaysian GP one I had forgotten).
        I recalled wet weather in 2009 Brazil QLF, but the specific part about rain intensifying later in Q1, I didn’t.
        @wsrgo

  2. Hamilton’s first ever finish in P10 for Mercedes. And only the 2nd P10 finish in his career since France 2008.
    Only the 2nd time that Hamilton has got just 1 WDC point in a race. The previous occasion was the 2nd race of the 2009 season, Malaysia 2009 where he finished 7th but got only 1 point has half-points were awarded. Leclerc has more podiums in 2022 than in 2021 already.

    In qualifying, the highest placed Mercedes engine driver was Russell in P6 and was beaten by all the 3 other engines. First time this has happened in the hybrid era.

    Mexico is country no. 23 to deliver a pole sitter. Country #22 was Netherlands (Max), #21 was Monaco (Charles). All these 3 countries have had just 1 pole-sitter from their county so far.

    With Perez, 10 drivers on yesterday’s grid have now been pole-sitters. Once Seb returns, the number will stay 10 as he will replace Hulk or Stroll (we wish), both of whom are pole-sitters themselves.

    1. RandomMallard
      28th March 2022, 18:42

      @sumedhvidwans I think Hamilton finished P10 in Korea in 2012 having suffered an anti-roll bar issue during the race. At least that’s what Wikipedia says!

    2. I don’t wish Stroll to leave F1 before Latifi!

  3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    28th March 2022, 11:57

    Mercedes should have anticipated a late safety car and a high rate of attrition in the ending stages of the race. New tyres, new regulations, new designs, what can go wrong?

    1. Probably still afraid of late safety cars. They tend to screw up big time in those circumstances.

      1. Hamilton stayed out hoping on a race ending safety car…
        Someone told him that was “normal”….

  4. Hamilton finished fourth on the road at Melbourne 2009. He inherited third after lying to the stewards in order to get Jarno Trulli a penalty, for which he was subsequently disqualified (and Trulli’s penalty was rescinded at the same time).

  5. Hamilton 180th start for a single constructor. Breaking the record set by MS/Ferrari.

  6. Mark Webber must be pretty bummed out at having Perez smash all his most notable records.

    1. “You cannot hit mexicans”

  7. “Having salvaged an unexpected podium finish from the opening race of the season, Lewis Hamilton could be satisfied with his early damage limitation as Mercedes began 2022 with an unexpectedly uncompetitive car.”

    Quite funny how this website keeps writing things like Hamilton is making the difference when it is positive but how every thing is against Hamilton and that is unlucky when things are negative.

    Fact: Mercedes has 3rd fastest car so if 2 cars ahead retire due to mechanical failure you would expect a 7x WDC to be on podium anything less would be bad.
    Fact: Mercedes car is not uncompetitive – it is still 3rd fastest car – it is just not 0.5-1 second a lap quicker than the next best car on the grid.

    So race 1 Hamilton finished where he should have and race 2 he failed to deliver what the car can do in both qualifying and the race.

    1. Merc tried different setups in qualy, to get over their current difficulties with the car. HAMs obviously didnt work. In the race he only made one mistake (not to pit), which was quite severe. Apart from that his driving was pretty good.

      Maybe think of paperchamps qualy crash last year, before throwing stones on drivers you dislike. Also this year he didnt qualify before his wingman.

  8. Couple random bits:
    – We’ve now had five consecutive evening/night races: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia again. Melbourne will break this streak.
    – With one win, Red Bull Powertrains are now equal in the number of victories to Weslake and Porsche as engine manufacturers.

    1. Wow indeed.
      Out of the last 9 GPs, 6 took place in the Middle East and 3 in Americas.

    2. Is this the first win for an ex-works F1 power unit? Or do the Mugen Honda V10s count, which won a couple of GPs with Ligier and Jordan in the 90s? Old Renault, BMW or Ferrari engines never won anything…

      1. @bullfrog

        Don’t we count the Red Bull engine as a works power unit?
        English is not my first language so I am not sure how a “works” engine is defined.

        1. “works”= factory, with the manufacturer’s name (Honda). Some engines were still used with a different name, after the manufacturer left F1, like BMW in 1987, Renault in 1997, Honda in 2021 (Megatron, Supertec, Red Bull Powertrains). This is the first time I can remember one winning!

  9. Hopefully Lewis manages a win this year, so he can keep his record of at least one win for each of his seasons of F1.

    1. And a pole as well.

  10. Sergey Martyn
    28th March 2022, 18:23

    Lewis, please relax and get used to the new positions.

  11. This was not sarcasm from Ham, as some people are suggesting. It was that of an entitled brat asking how much a pint of oat milk (much nicer than cow puss btw) is, after his butler has been buying the shopping for the last 15 years…

    He’s had it so good that he’s lost all sense of F1 reality.

  12. Hamilton doesn’t know you get points down to tenth?

    Not sure what to make of that.

    1. as he awaited confirmation of his result

      I don’t believe he was 100% sure of his finishing position, and therefore whether he’d scored, hence “as he awaited confirmation of his result”.

  13. First pole for Red Bull engines in their 2nd race – equals Cummins* and Ford Cosworth, only beaten by Alfa Romeo (who got pole in the first World Championship race), Offenhauser*, Novi*, Mercedes, and Lancia. Those with * competed in the Indy 500 only.

    First win for Red Bull engines in their 2nd race – equals Ford Cosworth, only beaten by Alfa Romeo, Offenhauser, and Mercedes.

    Perez’s 2 front-row starts have come in the 2nd races of the two most recent seasons.

    3rd season in a row in which Ocon has managed a P5 start – he only started higher in his Force India days.

    All 4 Red Bull-powered drivers have scored points in one race and not reached the finish in the other.

    14 classified finishers is the fewest since Hungary 2021 which had 13.

    7th consecutive season in which Verstappen has managed at least 1 victory.

    First time since Azerbaijan 2021 that Mercedes have not finished on the podium. First time since Sakhir 2020 that no (official) Mercedes-powered car has finished on the podium (counting BWT Mercedes as distinct from Mercedes).

    16th consecutive season in which Red Bull have led at least 1 lap.

    4 different engine suppliers have taken exactly 1 win: Porsche, Weslake (both courtesy of Dan Gurney who only won 2 other races), BWT Mercedes (courtesy of Perez), and Red Bull (whose win could easily have been courtesy of Perez). Of these 4, Red Bull is the only one whose team has won races with other suppliers.

    Thanks to statsf1 and the official F1 site for some of these.

  14. Let’s not forget circumstances. It can’t have been easy for him this weekend, porpoising around that dangerously high speed track with its blind corners whilst managing a car with no rear end grip. Talk about the jitters.

  15. perez’s first win (racing point), first fastest lap (sauber), and first pole (red bull) have all come with different teams.

    the closest other example is jenson button – first win (honda), first fastest lap (brawn) and first pole (bar), but those were three different iterations of team brackley

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