Having won the formula One drivers’ championship six out of severn times between 2014 and 2020, Lewis Hamilton is clearly unhappy with the current state of his Mercedes W14 car.
The Mercedes team were the most dominant Formula One outfit the sport has ever seen during the Hamilton years and playing second third and even fourth fiddle over the past 18 months is clearly something Lewis is struggling to adjust to.
Hamilton wants 8th F1 title
Sebastian Vettel suffered similarly following his four consecutive world championships and whilst he maintained a semblance of a fighting spirit during his early years at Ferrari. Yet the the lack of a car consistently blessed with winning pace slowly ground the German driver down culminating with his early retirement at the end of 2022.
For Hamilton the stakes are much greater. Statistically he is the joint most successful F1 driver of all time with seven world championships along with the legend that is Michael Schumacher.
Despite claiming throughout his career that records are not his goal, Lewis let the mask slip during a free-race piece with Sky F1 this year when he was subject to questions while attached to a lie detector.
When asked whether he was going to remain in Formula One until he had achieved his 8th world title, Hamilton paused then asserted truthfully,”Yes.”
Wolff reproaches Hamilton
The problem for Lewis is that time is running out. He will be 39 years of age as he starts his new contract in 2024 and Mercedes at some point will need to look to the future.
Hamilton has become increasingly tetchy over team radio and during the recent Austrian Grand Prix team boss Toto Wolff unusually intervened as Lewis repeated ranted about other drivers exceeding track limits.
After several similar complaints Wolff decided he needed to make a rare in race appearance on team radio to calm down his irate driver:
“Lewis, the car is bad, we know. Please drive it,” was the instruction.
Hulkenberg says Hamilton “spoiled by success”
Hamilton had to have the final say and in his usual post chequered flag team radio message to the team he attempted his usual thanks for everyone’s efforts, though qualified it by blaming the car for his struggles.
“Well done guys today, great job with the pitstops, sorry I couldn’t get any higher but the car was really hard to drive today.”
Nico Hulkenberg believes Lewis Hamilton has been “spoiled by success” and this is the reason he is consistently complaining.
Lewis is “quick to complain”
When questioned by Servus TV about Toto’s necessary intervention over team radio, Hulkenberg replied: “You’d have to say Lewis was a little spoiled by success.”
“He’s a guy who’s quick to complain these days.”
Hulkenberg is three years Hamilton’s junior and was forced out of Formula One for three years having been dropped by Renault at the end of the 2019 season.
Yet the German driver has bounced back given a new opportunity at Haas and appears to be driving with ease even when compared to his hard nosed Danish team mate Kevin Magnussen.
F1 timeout refreshed Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg has a career which is almost diametrically opposite to that of the at times fortunate Hamilton. The German driver has the all time record of starting the most F1 Grand Prix without a podium of all the 774 competitors since the inception of the sport in 1950.
Whilst without a full time F1 driver, Nico started a family and admitted the pressure of the final season with Renault and no contract for the following year had taken its toll.
“After 2019, I was a little cooked through,” he said. “After that I was always half in the paddock but still, it was good to take a break
“Now I’m in a good mood and having fun. If you are well positioned in that respect, then you can have this lightness. I’m at peace with myself.”
Should be having “fun”
This is something which is not reflected in Hamilton’s current demeanour particularly when the team is having a poor race weekend.
Hulkenberg admits despite driving a car which is towards the back of the grid, “the driving is the easy part. It’s like riding a bike – you don’t forget it. But I want to have fun with it too.”
“We have to keep this vibe and this lightness,” Hulkenberg insisted.
Nico is driving for the team boss most likely to lose his temper than any other in the paddock. Gunther Steiner had a fiery 2022 season where he repeatedly blasted Mick Schumacher for crashing the car and costing the team millions of dollars.
Steiner more relaxed this year
Yet Hulkenberg reveals his relationship with Steiner is going well despite the Haas F1 boss repeatedly shooting his opinions from the hip.
“The Gunther you see on TV or on Netflix is exactly how he is,” Hulkenberg grinned. “He is direct and honest. We have a good cooperation.
“It’s also good because for the first time I can communicate in my mother tongue. I’m having fun and I think he’s having fun with me too. We’re still in the honeymoon phase a bit.”
Hamilton “up” when wining
Hamilton is up and down depending on how competitive his car is from weekend to weekend. He was on top of the world after finishing second in Canada just ten seconds behind race winner Max Verstappen.
“It’s a privilege to be up here fighting these two who’ve done incredible in their careers,” Hamilton gushed in his post-race press conference.
“And this is quite an iconic top three. I don’t know if there’s been a top three like this ever before. I don’t believe there has been.”
Fans call “shame on Lewis”
Hamilton was lambasted on social media for putting his fingers in his ears during Austrian national anthem at a race where he finished a disappointing 8th behind his team mate George Russell.
@FitzroyWatson2 commented: “Disgraceful watching Lewis Hamilton with his fingers in his ears during the Austrian national anthem. Surely for a few seconds he can listen. I bet he doesn’t do that at a Beyoncé or Snoop dog concert. I wonder why?”
When questioned after the Austrian race whether his finishing position indicated there was na issue, Hamilton retorted, “Uh, what problems? There was nothing wrong with the car. The car was fine.”
Hill never seen Lewis “so low”
When pressed on whether his car lacked performance, a clearly unhappy Hamilton resounded, “Yep.”
“The way the car felt doesn’t surprise me, no.”
1996 F1 drivers’ champion and now Sky F1 pundit Damon Hill appeared shocked by Lewis’ low morale. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard him sound lower than that in a long, long time.”
With the British Grand Prix just days away, Hamilton will need to pick himself up and go again. Though if the car proves once again to be Mr. Hyde rather than Dr. Jeckyll, Lewis will be distraught given he holds the record for the most races won at a single circuit claiming victory in Northamptonshire on no less than eight previous occasions.
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 28, 2023