Lewis Hamilton’s ‘sacrifice’ reminds Ross Brawn of Michael Schumacher’s

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton hops in his W13 in the garage. Austria July 2022

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton hops in his W13 in the garage. Austria July 2022

Lewis Hamilton’s fight to see Mercedes return to P1 reminds Ross Brawn of the “sacrifices” Michael Schumacher made when he was with the team a decade ago.

After eight seasons of dominating Formula 1, winning seven successive Drivers’ titles and an unprecedented eight consecutive Constructors’, it is almost impossible for Mercedes to win either championship this season such is their deficit to Red Bull.

Welcoming an all-new era of ground-effect aerodynamic cars, Mercedes went radical with their design philosophy with the W13 experiencing severe bouncing.

Nearing the end of a season in which they are yet to win a grand prix, the Brackley squad concede they still do not quite understand the nuances of the car.

This has led to a great deal of testing on Fridays, Mercedes at times well off the pace as they trial different solutions.

It is not the first time Mercedes have been through this, the team falling down the pecking order following their championship success under the Brawn GP moniker in 2009.

When Mercedes bought the team in 2010, they had to rebuild and brought seven-time former World Champion Schumacher back into Formula 1 hoping the German could guide the team.

Brawn says what Hamilton is going through today reminds him of what Schumacher experienced a decade ago.

“Lewis is in the twilight of his career,” the F1 managing director told F1-Insider. “But that doesn’t mean it’s over yet.

“This year, for an extremely long time, he has had a car he cannot win with. So he puts a lot of energy into changing that.

“For him, this time is a character test. It may well be his team-mate George Russell is hungrier in the races as a result.”

He continued: “You can compare Lewis’ situation a bit with Michael’s comeback with Mercedes.

“As a driver, you always have to decide whether you want to be part of the solution or part of the problem.

“Michael redefined his role back then, so he was part of the solution and helped build the team that would go on to win eight straight Constructors’ titles.

“He sacrificed himself for the future of the team, so to speak, and played a key role in laying the foundation for its success.”

Hamilton’s best result to date this season has been two P2s, the Briton out of the championship fight with 168 points to Max Verstappen’s 335.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton speaks to a colleague in the garage. Netherlands September 2022.

Hamilton has never been win-less in a Formula 1 season, the Briton claiming 103 victories in his first 15 seasons in Formula 1.

This season, year 16, could be his first without a P1.

Brawn, however, has backed the 37-year-old to add a 104th win sooner rather than later.

“Lewis will come back, I’m convinced,” he said. “Just like his team.

“I believe periods of weakness you have to overcome make you even stronger. I know that from my own experience.

“You have to remember we narrowly lost three World titles before we made it at Ferrari with Michael Schumacher in 2000.

“The three years before were a tough test. The team could have fallen apart out of disappointment. But the opposite was the case – we grew even closer together and got better.

“We learned a lot and finally turned our weaknesses into strengths.”

Hamilton is currently tied with Schumacher for the most World titles ever, the two each having bagged seven during their illustrious careers.