Lewis Hamilton gives unexpected ‘greatest F1 year’ verdict

Lewis Hamilton on difficult season for Mercedes in November

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Lewis Hamilton has revealed 2022 was his “greatest year” for one reason despite Max Verstappen securing his second world title. The Mercedes star admitted he had received the best fan support since he made his F1 debut as the Silver Arrows desperately battled to find a solution to their problems.

The seven-time champion suggested it was the “most excited” he had seen the fans as he stressed his support had “magnified”. It came during a difficult season for Mercedes as they struggled to keep pace with the frontrunners.

Hamilton said: “I think this has been the greatest year in my career in terms of fan support. There has been so much love and that’s so appreciated in a time when the world is going through a really tough period.

“To see everyone excited for our sport, weekend in, weekend out, is so good. It’s the most excited I’ve seen the fans and the most passionate, so the support feels like it is magnified.

“I felt like we’ve been on a journey together more than ever before.” Hamilton was unable to challenge Verstappen for the world title after Mercedes battled porpoising issues early on in the campaign.

When the bouncing was solved, the iconic marque then discovered they had a pace disadvantage compared to the Red Bulls. Ferrari’s title challenge dropped off after the summer break which allowed Verstappen to cruise to his second crown.

The Dutchman was also able to pick up a record-breaking 15 race wins over the course of the season. Meanwhile, Hamilton dropped to his lowest-ever finish in the Drivers’ Championship, P6, after retiring from the final Grand Prix.

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The Briton also didn’t win a race across the entire season for the first time in his F1 career. The former McLaren driver was even edged out by George Russell who was in his first year at the manufacturer.

Hamilton has previously thanked fans for giving him “more affection than ever before” in the wake of losing the 2021 crown on the final lap in Abu Dhabi. However, the Mercedes champion still accepted 2022 had been a difficult season for himself and the team.

He explained: “This year was not the greatest. It is probably up there with the top-three worst seasons. But in terms of how the team stayed united, there have been lots of pluses. It would have been nice to have taken a win, but one win is not really enough is it?”

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