Depths of Hamilton’s WORST EVER season start revealed.

April 5, 2024

The 2024 Formula 1 season is not going to plan for the once-all-conquering Lewis Hamilton.

Taking no wins since being half a lap away from victory (and the title) at the consequential and controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi GP is not where the seven-time champion wants to be.

Yet, that looks likely to be where Hamilton will remain in 2024 after Mercedes suffered their first point-less race weekend since the 2021 Azerbaijan GP in Australia with a car that looks to have slipped to fourth in the pecking order.

Hamilton declared the season as his “worst start” after Melbourne, but how does it fare compared to other years where the opening three rounds didn’t go as he hoped? Two of Hamilton’s worst starts preceded the updated point-scoring system, including his sophomore season in the sport that saw him with 14 points after leaving Round 3 at Bahrain despite having an opening-race victory under his belt.

Converting Hamilton’s 2008 results to how we tally points today, he’d have 35 to his name, and it would still remain among his five worst season starts.

The Australian GP that year saw Hamilton take one of the two victories he boasts at Albert Park, as he started his first title-winning season strong.

However, the Malaysian GP was a challenge thanks to a qualifying penalty for holding up Nick Heidfeld and a slow stop during the race that led to a P5 finish.

Hamilton collided with ex-teammate Fernando Alonso in Bahrain to damage his McLaren’s front wing after a woeful getaway that needed anti-stall to get him off the line.

The wonderful multi-driver 2010 world championship fight might’ve ended with Hamilton in closer contention by the season finale had the year started better.

Hamilton wasn’t the only British champion in McLaren that year, and Jenson Button brought the Working team their season’s first win in Australia, with Hamilton not even making it to Q3.

Yes, Button’s victory did follow a Hamilton podium in Bahrain, but that P3 finish was the high-water mark in the year’s early rounds.

Two recovery drives to P6 came in Australia and Malaysia, with Hamilton starting in P11 at Melbourne and P20 at Sepang following heavy storms that hit the Asian track in Q1.

Knowing how 2022 panned out with Max Verstappen’s dominance, it’s crazy to think that one of Hamilton’s worst starts to a season had him ahead of his Dutch rival after the opening trio of races.

Hamilton’s 28 points flatter him thanks to Red Bull’s mechanical gremlins in Bahrain and Australia that promoted almost every other driver up the order in both races.

It’d be P5 rather than P3 in Bahrain for Hamilton had both Red Bulls finished the race and P5 in Melbourne, not P4, had Verstappen’s car not given up.

Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia was the primary reason for his low points haul, thanks to a shock Q1 exit in Qualifying and unfortunate timing during the VSC that had him finish a lowly P10.

It’s striking that even if Red Bull didn’t have issues in early 2022, Hamilton’s 2024 tally would still be well below what he would’ve had in what were his worst opening rounds in Mercedes overalls.

The first race after Hamilton’s maiden championship didn’t go to plan for the Briton when he suffered the first disqualification of his F1 career in Australia.

Hamilton left Melbourne believing he’d inherited Jarno Trulli’s podium placement to get P3.

However, the DSQ for McLaren misleading the stewards led to the then-reigning champion heading to another soaking-wet Malaysia without points.

The shortened Malaysian GP had a P7 finish, with more rain in China netting him P6 and just four points to his name, or 14 if using modern scoring methods.

Even using ifs and buts, 2024 sticks out as Hamilton’s worst start to a season by a long margin.

Hamilton’s Australian race pace doesn’t suggest he’d have crossed the line too high in the top 10 had his engine not failed, so I’d have to pin him around the car he was chasing before he pulled off the track, Lance Stroll.

That’d mean a P7 finish, greatly helped by George Russell’s late-race crash AND Alonso’s time penalty.

Even if we give these benefits to Hamilton in a parallel universe when his engine didn’t fail, his 2024 tally would still only see him with the same 14 points as 2008’s (modern-day adjusted) figures.

Considering that 2008 had an Australian GP disqualification from P3 (or P4, depending on where you’d classify Trulli), you can see how challenging 2024 looks from Hamilton’s perspective.

Meanwhile, with Ferrari already boasting a win, fastest laps, and a quartet of trophies, Hamilton must be counting the days until he heads to Maranello..