Tuesday, 16 Apr, 2024

Lewis Hamilton could walk away if Mercedes remain third fastest F1 team, says Martin Brundle

Lewis Hamilton could walk away if Mercedes remain third fastest F1 team, says Martin Brundle

Sky Sports F1 commentator Martin Brundle believes Lewis Hamilton could walk away from the sport at the end of the year if Mercedes are unable to catch frontrunners Ferrari and Red Bull.

Despite Hamilton taking a podium in Bahrain last Sunday, Mercedes’ W13 challenger for 2022 is not yet as fast as the machinery developed by their biggest rivals. The Silver Arrows have won eight constructors’ championships in a row since the 2014 campaign, but are off the pace at the beginning of this season after failing to nail the transition brought about by F1’s enormous regulation change.

The regulation change has been devised in order to increase the quality of racing in F1. The return of ground effect aerodynamics is designed to allow drivers to follow one another more closely and encourage more intense wheel-to-wheel racing, and felt to be successful at the season opener at Sakhir last weekend, with Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen tussling for the lead in spectacular fashion between Turn 1 and Turn 4 on two consecutive laps after the first round of pit stops.

Now, Brundle says he doubts Hamilton will stick around for long if he is merely competing to finish the best of the rest.

“As long as [Hamilton] still has the motivation to get in the gym and to get on a plane… the hours of debriefing afterwards and the hours of media, talking to the likes of me – that’s what the drivers hate, basically. They just want to drive racing cars,” the former McLaren and Williams driver told foxsports.com.au.

“As long as he’s still enjoying the bits around F1 or he can tolerate those bits around F1 and balance it out with just loving driving the car, [he’ll stay]. [But] if he goes through the whole year and Mercedes are third fastest and others are catching them up, then I suspect he’ll take a different view and my enjoyment analogy will play out in that he won’t be enjoying it anymore.”

The second race of the 2022 F1 season takes place this weekend at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Saudi Arabia, where Hamilton won the inaugural grand prix last December at the height of his intense title fight with Verstappen.