Bernie Ecclestone makes U-turn after publicly shaming Lewis Hamilton to open gates for relationship repair

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is in the unfamiliar situation of having gone through two seasons without picking up a single Grand Prix win. Meanwhile, his Red Bull rival Max Verstappen has been so far ahead of the pack that he has won successive world championships with plenty of races to spare.

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is an outspoken individual and although he may have publicly clashed with Hamilton in the past, he wants the seven-time world champion to win the title again.

Bernie Ecclestone and Lewis Hamilton. Credit: crash.net
Bernie Ecclestone and Lewis Hamilton. Credit: crash.net

With Mercedes reportedly building a car completely different from the past two seasons, Hamilton has also taken a more direct approach with respect to providing valuable feedback and ensuring that the car develops in a certain way.

There is, therefore, some reason for optimism in the Mercedes camp.

Ecclestone, 93, not only wants Hamilton to add to his 103 Grand Prix wins, but also wants the Stevenage-born driver to get to an elusive eighth world championship before retiring.

“I hope he makes it. He would then make history,” he said.

Relationship between Hamilton and Ecclestone

Ecclestone’s support for Hamilton may catch some fans by surprise, given that they have recently had a public fallout.

Hamilton had said that he was hoping that several of the ‘old voices’ would keep quiet after Bernie had declared his support towards Nelson Piquet following his racist slur aimed at the Mercedes driver.

The seven-time world champion said: “In the last couple of weeks, I don’t think a day has gone by when someone who has not been relevant in our sport for decades has not been saying negative things and trying to bring me down.

“Formula 1, the media, we should not be giving these people a platform. I’ve always tried to be respectful to these individuals but why did we give these guys a platform? They are not with the time, they are not willing to change.”

It took a few months for Ecclestone to respond to these comments, but the former boss replied with a sting.

“Maybe the older generation are not interested in listening to what he has to say,” Ecclestone said.

Ecclestone can say all he likes about hoping for Hamilton’s success now, but the reality is that Verstappen and Red Bull will start the 2024 season as firm favourites.

Their dominance last year clubbed with the fact that technical regulations don’t change till 2026 means that the team has every reason to be optimistic, even if they did incur a pre-season car fail.

Ecclestone spoke about the aura of Verstappen and how he reminded him of a young Michael Schumacher in the way that he goes about his business.

However, there is another thing that sets the Dutchman apart from the legendary driver.

“Max Verstappen has a bit of him in him,” he said.

“Max isn’t as merciless as Michael was, because Michael didn’t even think about making compromises.”

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