Mercedes F1: How does 2022 rank amongst their worst-ever starts?

Mercedes' start to the F1 2022 season has been nothing short of disastrous, but where does it rank in their illustrious history?

Lewis Hamilton said on the launch of the W13, "If you think what you saw at the end of last year was my best, wait until you see this year."

That comment did not age well. Judging from the start of the 2022 season, Mercedes have a huge mountain to climb if they are to salvage anything from this already miserable campaign.

But just how bad is Mercedes' start and how does it compare to previous years?

Planet Sport takes a deep dive…

2011 season - 26 points

After what was a semi-successful season in 2010, Mercedes were expected to bounce back with even better form in 2011.

With a strong testing program prepared, Mercedes were set for Australia. Unfortunately for them, both Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg had to retire due to accident damage and round two in Malaysia wasn't much better with the team only scoring a couple of points through Schumacher's P9 finish.

China seemed to be an improved weekend with Rosberg bagging P4 in qualifying and a double points result following for the team.

Turkey was again a better weekend with Rosberg qualifying P3 and Schumacher P8 respectively.

While Schumacher was involved in an incident with Vitaly Petrov, which hampered his race, Rosberg had a good start as he was second at the end of lap one and ended up battling the Ferraris and McLarens all afternoon long.

It initially seemed that the team was struggling to find the difference between qualifying trim and race pace, and therefore trying not to hinder one or the other.

However their results and luck didn't necessarily match their performance. The car was capable of challenging Ferrari and McLaren on a good day, but the drivers didn't help themselves as they kept getting caught up in accidents. Still, Mercedes' start was very disappointing.

2012 season - 37 points

2011 saw the team finish P4 in the World Championship and that would have been the benchmark again for 2012. The season started with an ebb and flow of positive results.

For Australia, Schumacher qualified an excellent P4, with Rosberg qualifying P7, showing some good qualifying pace over a lap. However in the race, Schumacher lost drive with a gearbox issue, while Rosberg finished 12th with contact with Kamui Kobayashi, giving him a puncture. Malaysia was again, a similar affair, with Schumacher P3 in qualifying. But, come Sunday, Schumacher had contact on lap one and the car lacked pace in wet dry conditions.

Results changed drastically in China as Mercedes locked out the front row with Rosberg taking pole and then clinching his first ever win - and Mercedes' first victory since 1955. Schumacher retired following a pit stop error.

For Bahrain, Schumacher had more mechanical dramas in qualifying, while Rosberg qualified P5 on the grid. Schumacher executed a valiant drive to P10 and Rosberg displayed good pace to finish P5.

Mercedes at first seemed to have a good car at their disposal, but just lacked consistency to achieve good results race by race. The W03 seemed to struggle in slippery conditions and it also had several reliability issues which affected their results. They were, however, still capable of winning races.

2010 season - 60 points

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg in action at the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix

The Mercedes name came back into Formula 1 in 2010 transitioning from Brawn GP who won the 2009 World Championship in the ultimate one-season wonder.

The Silver Arrows were set to challenge for the Championship again, bringing in seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher back to F1 and up-and-coming young talent Nico Rosberg.

But 2010 saw the car struggle to record stand-out results despite seeming to have a good mix of speed and reliability.

Bahrain saw them battling with the top teams in terms of pace and points (finishing P5 and P6), while Australia saw contact for Schumacher at Turn 1 with Fernado Alonso, but the team still scored double points - albeit aided by the misfortune of Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton.

Malaysia was great for Rosberg, achieving a front row start without the threat of the McLaren or Ferrari cars in the race. Rosberg finished P3, securing the team's first podium, while Schumacher had to retire due to a loose wheel nut.

China saw Rosberg nab P4 in qualifying and saw them cope with the interchangeable conditions and maintain good race pace throughout. The Silver Arrows finished P3 and P10 respectively.

2013 season - 64 points

The dynamic of 2013 was different with Schumacher leaving the team and retiring from racing for a second time. This left a very good blueprint for the team as they gained invaluable experience with one of the all-time greats, understanding what it's like to work with such an esteemed champion.

Step forward Lewis Hamilton to fill those boots, fresh from what was, at the time, a shock, risky move from McLaren.

The start of the season, in Australia, however wasn't a spectacular one as the team had electrical gremlins with Rosberg. The Mercedes seemed to struggle with its tyres and seemed to lose grip quicker than other cars. Hamilton battled to a P5 finish in the race which was a good result for the team given the difficult circumstances.

Malaysia was an improvement, though, and Hamilton claimed pole position for China - yet to settle for P3 come the chequered flag. Rosberg unfortunately had a rear anti-roll bar problem.

Bahrain was a similar story with Rosberg achieving pole position before seeing a gradual decline in pace due to tyre wear and degradation.

2022 season - 77 points

Surprisingly, 2022 has only been their fifth worst start to a F1 season since 2010 and it's interesting to compare because in 2013, the car seemed to have front running pace and could achieve wins on the right strategy, whereas the W13 seems to be lacking in all areas.

Its severe porpoising makes the car slow and have no stability on the straights, and the effect of it is so drastic that Hamilton and George Russell are suffering with chest and back pain on a regular basis.

It seems that Hamilton is struggling more, though, to get to grips with the car, whereas Russell is outperforming both team-mate and the W13 itself.

Bahrain did see a P3 finish for Hamilton and a P4 for George respectively, but Saudi Arabia saw a completely different affair with Hamilton qualifying a lowly P16, with Russell in P6. In the race, Hamilton scraped a P10 finish, while Russell got best of the rest with P5.

Australia saw Hamilton qualify in P5 and Russell in P6, showing some signs of bouncing back from the mixed bag of Saudi.

Russell overtook Hamilton in the pit stop phase as a VSC was called, giving him a timely leap. Russell ended with his first podium of the season and for him at Mercedes. Hamilton was P4.

Imola was again another mixed bag as the team scored P11 and P13 in qualifying.

The race, though, provided the biggest sucker punch yet as race winner Max Verstappen lapped his arch-rival of 2021, Hamilton. Russell, however, turned it around with a P4 result; Hamilton was a miserable P13.

It may only be the fifth worst start to a Mercedes season based on the stats, but it is arguably still the worst of the lot just because expectations are still so high for a team who have won the last eight Constructors' titles in a row.

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