Lewis Hamilton joked that there appeared to be a ‘ghost in the car’ during the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season that kept coming back, seemingly just after the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team had made progress with its troublesome W13.
For the first time in his Formula 1 career, Hamilton failed to take a victory nor a pole position in 2022, and this can be linked with the troubles Mercedes had as they suffered with an ill-feeling car right from the first test of the year.
They had some good weekends where they believed they had got on top of the problems, such as the Spanish Grand Prix in May, but after each good race seemingly came another disastrous weekend where they suffered more issues with the car.
And it was not until around the United States Grand Prix in October where they finally seemed to have a car that both Hamilton and team-mate George Russell could be confident to attack with.
“The first big step was Barcelona, that was our first hint of there being more potential in the car,” said Hamilton in an interview on Mercedes official website.
“It turned out to be a bit of a false positive; the car was good there but then the races afterwards were difficult. It was like a ghost was in the car and it kept coming back.
“But then there was France and that felt like a good step with our first double podium of the season. And then there was Austin, too, with the update we had working well.”
Despite the trials and tribulations of the 2022 season, Hamilton never stopped believing that Mercedes would get on top of the problem, and he found the whole season empowering as he worked alongside his engineers to find solutions.
“I always knew that we could do it,” Hamilton added. “I never doubted that we would get there in the end, but there was lots of trial and error, and so much failure this year.
“There were times we brought upgrades and they didn’t work, and times we tried different things and it didn’t work. I tried so many things and failed so many times but through that you learn and grow.
“That’s what it’s been about this year. It’s been about failure, breaking down egos, strengthening our relationships, and strengthening our communications. From that perspective it’s been really empowering.”
Hamilton also believes he has grown as a person during 2022, particularly in terms of internal strength, more than he feels he has in many of his previous years in the sport.
“It’s been a very hard year for everyone,” Hamilton said. “For me, it’s been challenging in ways that I wasn’t expecting, but I am incredibly grateful for that.
“I have felt more growth this year as a man, in terms of internal strength, than I have in many other years.”