As Formula One drivers age, it appears they feel the need to use their voice to speak out on non-racing issues they have become attached to. Lewis Hamilton has been associated with promoting climate change issues, Veganism and the political movement Black Lives Matter. Vettel too is having his say, most recently over LBGTQ+ rights. The German also has some points to say on the motivation of Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1.
In an interview, this weekend with Sky F1, the former Red Bull Racing 4 times champion suggests the FIA have made a mistake in dismissing race director Michael Massi.
Following the confusion and inordinate delay at the start of the Monaco GP the double headed hydra that are the two new race directors, Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich are in Sebastian Vettel’s sights.
Vettel who is the director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association said, “What we are missing now is the experience that Michael had and brought to the job because he did it for so long and grew up with it.
“It is not an easy position now because there is more focus and more spotlight on what is happening at race control.
“But I hope things calm down and we find a way to work together, as in the drivers and the FIA. You cannot make everybody happy but we need to try and make both sides more happy.”
Former race director was reportedly removed from his position due to the displeasure of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton over decisions he made during the final race of the 2021 season.
Further, Sebastian questions whether Lewis Hamilton has the motivation for F1 racing that he once enjoyed.
Having won 4 consecutive drivers championships with Red Bull Racing, the German reveals
“When you get to know the sport in the way I have done and Lewis has done, winning and being at the top is what you strive for.”
“Does it excite you to finish eighth, or 12th or 13th? No, it doesn’t, when you know you have been first so many times – and in Lewis’ case more than any other guy.”
Of course Vettel’s demise from the peak of F1 coincided with the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo as team mate together with Mercedes gigantic spend to develop a car and engine that has been almost unbeatable for 8 seasons.
Lewis’s story is different. He has enjoyed the Mercedes dominance, winning titles during the 8 year reign the team has had in the constructors’ championship.
Yet this season Hamilton is not only suffering an inferior car but a new team mate who is relishing the challenge of beating his 7 time world champion team mate.
Vettel muses, “George (Russell) comes in. He spent three years at Williams suffering at the rear of the field, scoring the odd point, and then suddenly he is eighth or 12th and life for him is amazing.
“Everybody is different, but you need to be fair from the outside and say, look, is Lewis naturally going to be as fired up about finishing eighth as George probably is? No, and I would be surprised if he was.”
Clearly Hamilton’s ‘demotivation’ has been exacerbated by the fact his newbie team mate is the only driver in the field to finish top5 in all 7 races so far.
Whilst Hamilton is only 4-3 down to Russell in qualifying, his lack of experience of racing in the midfield is evident. A silly collision in Spain with Magnussen cost him the chance of a podium.
Lewis is currently 34 points adrift of George and given the Mercedes W13 looks incapable of winning races, that is a huge haul of points for Hamilton to claw back when scoring “the odd point” as Vettel says
Clearly, the W13 is poor, yet one of the Mercedes’ drivers sits P4 in the drivers championship – ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. Meanwhile Lewis is languishing a mere two points ahead of McLaren’s Land Norris and just 10 points ahead of ex-team mate Valterri Bottas.
Of motivation is part of Hamilton’s problem, like other greats such as Tiger Woods, will he ever recover the dominant attitude it requires to be at the top of his sport?