How does Lewis Hamilton’s success with Mercedes compare to when he was with McLaren?

Following Lewis Hamilton’s win at the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend, he has now raced 110 times for Mercedes, which is the same amount of races he competed in for McLaren.

With the start of the summer break for the drivers, it seems sensible to compare Hamilton’s time at both McLaren and Mercedes.

Judging from the stats alone, Hamilton’s time at Mercedes has been more successful – no surprise there really.

He has won 46 races for Mercedes in his first 110 races, in comparison to 21 wins for McLaren.

However, that does not necessarily conclude that he has been more impressive for Mercedes.

As the start of Formula One careers go, Hamilton’s was exceptional.

Rookies are not expected to challenge for the World Drivers’ Championship. However, Hamilton finished his 2007 rookie season in second place.

He was only the second driver to finish second in their rookie year, along with Jacques Villeneuve in 1996. No rookie has ever won the Drivers’ Championship.

Also in this season, he set the record for the most pole positions in a debut season (6), he notched up the most consecutive podium finishes starting from debut (9), as well as setting the record for becoming the youngest championship leader at 22 years and 126 days at the 2007 Spanish Grand Prix.

The level of Hamilton’s record breaking rookie season can arguably be judged more impressive than any one of his championships’ with Mercedes as he was so inexperienced.

His impressive rookie season was followed by a World Championship winning season in 2008.

With this championship, Hamilton became the youngest ever World Champion at the age of 23 years and 300 days.

This record has been broken since by Sebastian Vettel, winning in 2010 at the age of 23 years and 134 days. However, Vettel’s maiden World Championship was his fourth F1 season (third full season) and he therefore had more experience than Hamilton.

However, Hamilton could not build on his extraordinary success in his first two seasons and finished either fourth or fifth in the following four seasons for McLaren.

As a result, Hamilton decided to transfer to Mercedes in 2013.

His debut season for Mercedes was not as successful as he may have hoped. He finished fourth in the Drivers’ Championship after having admitted that he was struggling to control the car under braking.

These five seasons were dominated by Vettel, who finished second once and won the other four championships.

Hamilton was not in the debate for who was the best driver at the time. However, that would change in Hamilton’s second season for Mercedes in 2014, when dominated his rival drivers to win his second World Drivers’ Championship.

From the start of the 2014 season, Hamilton has almost been unstoppable. He has won four out of the five Drivers’ Championships and finished second in the remaining season where he was narrowly beaten by his rival teammate Nico Rosberg.

In addition to this, he is leading this season’s championship at the halfway stage, with another championship imminent as he has historically been stronger in the second half of the season.

In this period from 2014, Hamilton has won a remarkable 45 out of 91 races.

Lewis Hamilton’s first 110 races for both McLaren and Mercedes are impressive in their different ways.

His considerable success for McLaren in his first two seasons in Formula One cannot be underestimated and are arguably the most impressive first two seasons from any driver in Formula One history.

However, he was unable to maintain his high standards in his remaining seasons for McLaren.

In contrast, despite a difficult first year for Hamilton at Mercedes, since then, he has dominated Formula One, and there is nothing to suggest that his dynasty will not continue following Mercedes re-signing Hamilton until the end of 2020.

With Lewis Hamilton being arguably the greatest rookie in Formula One history and with his sixth championship potentially on the horizon, it would take a brave man to bet against him breaking Michael Schumacher’s record seven World Championships in the forthcoming years, and therefore being seen as the greatest Formula One driver of all time.

Therefore, rather than concluding with whether his 110 races for McLaren were more impressive than his 110 races for Mercedes, we must acknowledge that we are witnessing a true great of Formula One who has already had a career which will be hard for future championship-winning drivers to match.

The most exciting element is that Hamilton is still young enough at 33 to compete for more World Drivers’ Championships and create more history.

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