F1 Driver Review: Lewis Hamilton

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After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, my colleague Chris Estrada and I are taking a look back on how each of the 23 Formula One drivers who took to the grid fared this past year.

In fourth place, Mercedes’ prized new recruit, Lewis Hamilton…

LEWIS HAMILTON

No. 10 Mercedes
2013 Stats: 4th Place, 1 Wins, 5 Podiums, 13 Top-5s, 17 Top-10s, 66 Laps Led
Average Start: 3.5
Average Finish: 5.9
DNFs: 1

DiZinno says: Hamilton is suffering more than most in this current era of Pirelli tire conservation. When it comes down to one-lap pace, Hamilton remains one of, if not the best driver on the grid in terms of extracting the maximum out of his car: witness his five pole positions this season in the first 11 races. But when it came down to the races, the Mercedes of course struggled on its tires in the first half and that left Hamilton a sinking stone once the lights went out. It was a frustrating second half after his Hungarian win, because there were times that Hamilton probably wished his results were better than they were. Good but not great and Hamilton will be hungrier still now having had a year to acclimate to the team after his departure from McLaren.

Estrada says: In his first season with Mercedes, Hamilton continued his stellar pace with five poles and converted one of them into a win at the Hungaroring. However, while the W04 helped him do well on Saturdays, its tire wear problems during races often stopped the former World Champion from bidding for more victories. In the second half of the season, Hamilton started to falter in the results department with no podium finishes following his third-place run at Spa. But in terms of the big picture, Hamilton still managed to come out looking pretty smart for his move from McLaren and he managed to out-point teammate Nico Rosberg despite losing to him in season wins. A less uneven car in 2014 should help him be more consistent.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.