Lewis Hamilton has he been let down by Mercedes?

Looking at the points deficit Lewis Hamilton has to his team-mate after seventeen races, and the number of power units that each has used to get to this point in the season, it is easy to draw the conclusion that the current World Drivers’ Champion has been let down by his team.  However is this really what has resulted in Nico Rosberg being in the position where he only needs to finish second to Lewis Hamilton in the remaining four Grands Prix to take his first championship?

Comparing the two Mercedes team-mates (let’s face it, no one else has been in contention for the drivers’ championship this season)both have qualified on pole eight times this year.  The oddity was Monaco where Daniel Riccardo took pole position.  However Nico Rosberg has qualified in second place every other time with the exception of Austria where a penalty for a gearbox change dropped him to sixth.  Lewis Hamilton on the other hand has had two starts from the back row of the grid (China when the power unit failed in qualifying and Belgium when he took three new power units to see him through to the end of the season).  He has also had two occasions when he qualified in tenth (in Russia his Turbo Charger and Motor Generator Unit – Heat failed while in the European race a driver error prevented him setting a time in Q3).  However on two occasions when there have been no issues he has qualified in third place (Monaco and Singapore), leaving three races where he was second.  In qualifying then there have been three occasions where his poor qualifying was down to the team, and three where it was due to the driver not performing (on the expectation that the dominant team should be on the front row every race).  This compares to one occasion for Nico Rosberg where the car let him down.

Moving to the races, Nico Rosberg has one DNF (Spain, where the two Mercedes team-mates took each other off – definitely not the team’s fault), but he has had a number of results off the podium.

  • In Monaco a seventh place was a result of him not being able to generate sufficient temperature in the tyres (driver);
  • In Canada after being pushed off the track in turn one he suffered with braking issues and this held him back to fifth place (team);
  • In Austria he recovered from starting sixth to lead the race, but was caught and passed by his team-mate thanks to suffering with brakes running out leading to the collision on the last lap – finished fourth (team/driver);
  • In Germany he made a poor start and only managed to recover to fourth place (driver).

For Hamilton he has also had a number of races where he didn’t make the podium, other than the Spanish race discussed above:

  • In China he only managed to get to seventh place after starting at the back (team);
  • In Europe he managed fifth after starting tenth (driver);
  • In Malaysia he dominated all weekend only for the power unit to fail close to the end of the race (team);

Turning now to the races where the drivers failed to convert a pole position to a race win:

  • In Australia, Hamilton made a poor start, and eventually recovered to second (driver);
  • In Bahrain, Hamilton again made a poor start and recovered to third (driver);
  • In Hungary Hamilton beat Rosberg (driver);
  • In Germany Rosberg made a poor start, recovering to fourth (driver);
  • In Italy Hamilton made a poor start, recovering to second (driver);

Finally, in the most recent Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton had another poor start (his fifth of the year so far) which allowed Rosberg to pull sufficiently far ahead in the points that he now only needs to finish second for the rest of the year to become champion.  In summary, while the team has caused Hamilton to loose points on four occasions this year, he has lost points through driver error on seven occasions. The comparison for Rosberg is team two occasions, driver three occasions and other driver once.

While undoubtedly Hamilton has had greater unreliability this year, it has only caused a non-finish once this season.  Has Hamilton’s driving dropped slightly when compared to the last two years, or has Rosberg upped his game?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Paul KieferJr

Mercedes is only partly to blame. In some of those races, Hamilton had trouble getting off to a good start because he couldn’t do the clutch right, so he shares some of the fault as well. Last race, he got bogged down because he didn’t have his engine revs in the right spot when he let go of the clutch. That’s on him.


You are forgetting the many races Rosberg has failed to get off the line.

Paul KieferJr

Do not disagree, but it wasn’t relevant to the question.


This season, Rosberg has had one poor start (Germany) vs Hamilton’s five poor starts.
The situation may have been different in earlier years, but that doesn’t affect the championship this season.


Also Hungary, Canada, China, Australia (5 poor starts for Rosberg)


In Australia Hamilton was on pole, Rosberg in second. At the end of lap one Rosberg was in the lead, Hamilton in sixth. I don’t think that is a poor start for Rosberg. In China Rosberg was beaten off the line by Ricciardo and ended lap one in second place. So yes it could be argued a poor start. In Canada Rosberg got off the line well enough to challenge Hamilton (who started on pole ahead of him) into the first corner, that he was run off the track by Hamilton (something he does very well compared to the ham… Read more »


Wrong! http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12528/10610987/lewis-hamilton-takes-the-blame-for-poor-start-at-the-japanese-gp minus – show places lost & therefore, technically poor starts (exclu Malaysia for Rosberg). Whether he lost less places than Hamilton such a Australia, doesn’t take away the fact that it was a poor start per se. Canada, they both got a poor start and was swamped by Ferrari–the fact that Rosberg went off track is irrelevant.http://www.thisisf1.com/2016/06/13/clutch-issue-caused-mercedes-poor-start-canada/ So, what happened to your vastly incorrect initial assertion that Rosberg only had 1 poor start (Germany)? 5 poor starts for each driver–Hamilton losing more places but both probably losing a similar amount of points if you count from where they… Read more »


They both got poor starts in Australia. The fact that Nico lost less places does not take away the fact that it was a poor start PER SE. Arguably. Nico also had a poor start in Bhrain too. http://www.f1reader.com/news/tag/clutch#/news/mercedes-look-to-clutch-hardware-for-cause-of-poor-starts-141911


Being hit by Hamilton in Canada because he got alongside his team-mate, or being hit by Vettel in Malaysia and punted to the back of the field doesn’t really count as a poor start in my opinion.

Both Mercedes drivers have had issues this year getting off the line, but they are possibly under greater scrutiny as they are usually starting on the front row. Putting control back in the hands of the drivers rather than the engineers is a good thing in my opinion.


Don’t think you read my post properly. I did say EXCLUDING Malaysia for Rosberg.. I would dispute Canada–arguably if Nico had gotten a better start PER SE, the collision may have been avoided. So that makes 6 poor starts for Rosberg–5 for Lewis which is a far cry from your initial claim of 5 for Lewis, 1 for Nico. Agree with your second paragraph but if the other teams are going to make up ground in 2017, Merc may not have the advantage to climb back through the field if started poorly. So it’s something they will need to rectify… Read more »


Don’t think you read my post properly–i did say exclu Malaysia for Rosberg. Canada i would say counts. If Rosberg had gotten a better start per se, contact may have been avoided. So, including Bhrain–6 poor starts from Nico–5 from Hamilton.

Agree with your second paragraph


Nico’s work ethic is paying off. He spends more time at the factory and in the sim when Lewis is busy traveling the world and hanging outs with the Biebs

Salvu Borg

his oneeyedfanboys will tell you that they are convinced not only that his team let him down, but that his team conspired against him.

Jack Flash (Australia)

Not sure if Lewis has been specifically “let down” by Mercedes… or it has just been a combination of poor mechanical reliability luck, and some unforced errors on the starts.

What I do know “for sure” is that anyone wearing a coat that unequivocally hideous and tacky (see story pic), has been seriously LET DOWN by his couture cliche. WTH?


Rosberg has always been kinder to his car, HAM drives it like he stole it and cant nurse the car whereas Rosberg will always drive around a problem and adapt. Remember when both cars had brake issues, Hamilton spat his dummy and retired the car, whereas rosberg nursed the car, got the brakes back and bagged the points.

General Rush Hour

Thats just factually incorrect.


Very incorrect

Zachary Noepe

No I agree with this, it happened with the trans as well if I remember correctly, not this year I think last year, both cars had shifty problems and Rosberg drove his down to the finish it could make, Lewis DNF’d. Now that’s anecdotal, do we know the condition was exactly the same on both cars – no. But NLR’s point does seem borne out by the impressions one gets watching them over several seasons. I mean he knows what the hell switch to turn when it’s in the wrong setting while Lewis just cries on the radio, right? He… Read more »


Nonsense. And as for Rosberg knowing his settings, who was in the wrong mode/setting on Bahrain & Spain? Yes, Rosberg.

Zachary Noepe

As I say, it’s an impression formed over several seasons, but I might be wrong, what do either of us really know about the mechanical specifics of what we’ve seen in the races?


Was it 2014 when Rosberg had issues with the car at Singapore which really turned the momentum and then again at the final race in Abu Dhabi? No one talked about him being ‘let down’ by Mercedes then. This is motor racing and unfortunately reliability / luck always plays a role to some extent. You could go all the way back through recent years and revise history based on who was ‘let down’ by the team by reliability or strategy errors. For example Alonso could have won in 2010 but for Ferrari incompetence, Raikkonen could be a double or triple… Read more »


“Was it 2014 when Rosberg had issues with the car at Singapore which really turned the momentum and then again at the final race in Abu Dhabi? No one talked about him being ‘let down’ by Mercedes then.”

Probably because Hamilton had the bulk of the issues in 2014-

Alex H

When you think back to Mercedes team line up with Rosberg and Shumi, it is not so far fetched for Rosberg to be so solid since he put manners on a 7 times world champion. I remeber him consistently being 4-6 tenths quicker that the ‘old’ man. He may have been out of F1for 3 years but Rosberg showed his class. Now he may not be as good as Hamilton in wheel to wheel combat, but as Jackie Stuart says, F1 is about mind management as much as anything else. Lewis after his 3rd WDC relaxed and let Rosberg get… Read more »


I may be asking for too much… but a similar analysis of the past 2 seasons (2014 and 2015) might be interesting to see. Would it be the reverse?


In 2014 Hamilton had three DNFs due to car issues and Rosberg only two. However Rosberg also did not score in the double points final due to problems with the power unit, but he did finish. One of Hamilton’s DNFs was Canada where he retired with failing brakes, Rosberg also had issues with the brakes, the team reported it to be the same cause, but once again he finished (in second place). So they had three non scores each due to car problems. Rosberg was already behind in points come the final race that even with double points he would… Read more »

News Play F1

Very good analysis!

Peter Riva

Once again, as long as there is actually no testing, one can only guess at the oil-made-my-engine-explode, the-brakes-are-faulty, the-cluch-bite-point-has-no-feel – and a host of other issues that cannot be resolved Except in the heat of battle. Nicky Lauda loves that heat of battle – and perhaps Hamiton doesn’t. Rosberg, it seems to me, is simply being the good German and getting on with the program, jawohl mein chef! Now ask this question: Where does F1 money come from? The fans. And this: Which drivers are the fans’ favorites? If Rosberg’s name comes up, I’d be surprised. He DOES deserve better,… Read more »


So, due to car issues, Hamilton has started from the back twice, and P10, once? While Rosberg has started p6 once due to car issue? Hamilton’s new engine then exploded in Malaysia. Says it all really. Yes, the team have let Hamilton down.


The hydraulic issue didn’t impact qualifying or the race.


It’s more the occasions that Hamilton has qualified third and the tenth at Baku that indicate a slight drop in his previously dominant standards. That coupled with the fact that he has struggled more with the single clutch paddle than Rosberg is why he is behind.


“That coupled with the fact that he has struggled more with the single clutch paddle than Rosberg is why he is behind.” Rosberg has had 5 poor starts-like Hamilton. Hamilton is behind mainly due to poor reliability


25 points lost due to engine failure is the main reason he is behind.

Hiran Perera

i think the thought or conspiracy that lewis has been let down by mercedes is absolute nonsense. Nico has had just as many issues over the years, maybe not this year, but previous years. These days reliability is incredible, but they are still pushing the cars to the limits. But looks back to 2014 canada when both cars had brake issues, hamilton was not able to manage them, but nico was. Honestly I think Nico is a bit easier on the car, he might not have outright speed in comparison, but he’s come into his own this year. Reliability issues… Read more »


Hamilton had more issues in 2014. Rosberg 1 more DNF that Hamilton in 2015–so up until this year, it was almost even. This years car unreliability has nearly been 1 sided and will hand the WDC to Rosberg,


Three non scores each due to car issues in 2014.
Two non scores for Rosberg and one for Hamilton in 2015.
One non score for Hamilton in 2016 due to car issues, and one double DNF due to driver issues.

For the last three years the bad luck has been even.


Disagree, Non scores are not the only way that can affect performance and points, Example, qual issues and having to start from the back, though not DNF, affects ability to score points. Fairly even in terms of ALL reliability issues (not just DNF) 2014 and 2015. This year–nearly all one sided and it will cots Hamilton the title,


Disagree, I think you are knowledgeable enough to realise that non score DNF’s is only a small part of the picture. There are other ways to lose points. Example-qual issues–engines blow up in qual–driver has to start from back–puts driver at a disadvantage,harder to get points.

2014 & 2015 fairly even in terms of ALL reliability issues–not just DNF’s. 2016–nearly all one side and may cost Hamilton the title.


Nice effort but you’re going to have to do more than that to legitimize Rosberg’s title. No surprise coming from a biased viewer. And no giving Hamilton credit for the one thing that is not up for debate, his speed-does not get you off the hook. Try again, please.


It is very hard to stay at the top for so long. If you look at the other drivers who have won three titles back to back (Fangio, Schumacher and Vettel) they have all had defined number one status. Even then they had off years where they weren’t as dominant as before. If anything, Rosberg’s competitiveness makes Hamilton’s recent two titles more impressive despite the Mercedes domination.

Zachary Noepe

Rosberg has now outqualified him 9-8. Nitpick any three of those results, fine, but this is simply not a case where one driver is really faster than the other. They have different styles, strengths and weaknesses, so the situation favors one set or the other of characteristics, that’s what makes the season fun to watch for me. But this is not a story of a fast unlucky driver and a slow lucky one, it just isn’t.


Think it’s 8-8? With 2 sessions Hamilton sat out of due to engine problems, Another session, Rosberg posted controversial purple sectors under double yellows–Lewis had to slow down to avoid Alonso so Rosberg was able to grab pole, Never take stats at face value


It is eight pole positions each, but with Ricciardo on pole in Monaco, Rosberg second and Hamilton third, Rosberg has outqualified Hamilton nine – eight.


Hamilton sat out of 2 sessions due to engine problems–needs to be taken into account. And what about Rosberg posting pole lap under double yellows.? Never take stats at face value


I believe I stated that in the article (Hamilton starting at the back due to the team).


“But this is not a story of a fast unlucky driver and a slow lucky one, it just isn’t.” You almost got it! The point I’m trying to make is that this is a battle of two equally fast drivers. There is almost nothing between Nico and Lewis. Nico is driving great, but so is Lewis. The reason Nico will win the title is not because he out performed Lewis, its because he has enjoyed a much more reliable car. Nico has always been quick. The difference over the past two years was that Lewis was at least able to… Read more »