Lewis Hamilton has been told he's been "spoiled" at Mercedes amid his struggles so far in the 2022 F1 season.
New technical regulations have signalled the start of a new era in F1, with all teams having to make major adaptations to their cars. It's Ferrari who appear to have adjusted better than most, with Charles Leclerc having won two of the three races so far.
Hamilton however, has endured a difficult start with the Silver Arrows noticeably off the pace in comparison to the Scuderia and Red Bull . The 37-year-old has also been plagued by the issue of porpoising, with both he and team-mate George Russell having to negotiate an unsteady W13 vehicle.
Hamilton did manage a third-placed podium finish in the opening race in Bahrain, but only after benefiting from late retirements by Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. A week later in Saudi Arabia, fans were left stunned when he was eliminated in Q1.
He went on to finish 10th in the race, earning just a solitary point, before coming fourth in Melbourne. He currently lies fifth in the standings on 28 points, already 43 off leader Leclerc.
It's not a situation that Hamilton has been used to since joining Mercedes in 2013. Toto Wolff's team have been constructors' champions for the past sevens seasons, with the British driver individual champion in five of those campaigns.
And now ex-F1 driver Marc Surer has implied Hamilton has become too accustomed to being in a "perfect" car. He also isn't surprised that he's currently being out-performed by Russell.
"He has only driven perfect cars for the last few years, he’s spoiled," Surer told Formel1.de . "Russell is used to driving fast with a bad car. Lewis is no longer used to that."
Russell joined from Williams, where he drove in a car which was deemed uncompetitive. He did manage one second-placed finish in Belgium last season, but in a rain affected race where only two safety car led laps were possible, with half-points awarded afterwards.
But Surer isn't concerned about Hamilton long-term. And he expects the two compatriots to become embroiled in tight battle as the season progresses.
"I actually thought he [Hamilton] would have a harder time against Russell, especially in qualifying,” he continued. "But there is not much missing, there is hardly any difference between the two.
"And in the race, Hamilton is the benchmark – who always whines on the radio, but on the other hand always gives everything. That’s why I’m not worried about Lewis."
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