Former world champion tips Hamilton to ditch Mercedes for rival team – “He is sulking and getting embarrassed by Russell”

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will look to leave Mercedes and sign for a rival team the moment he gets a chance, according to former F1 driver Mika Hakkinen.

Given the sort of problems Mercedes has faced in the early part of the season, it is perhaps some consolation for both George Russell and Hamilton to have recorded at least one podium finish so far.

However, neither driver is all that comfortable with the W13 challenger offered by the Silver Arrows this year and the car is nowhere near as competitive as table-toppers Ferrari.

While Red Bull’s reliability has set them back and resulted in a few DNFs for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, Mercedes’ biggest problem has been its speed. This is surprising given the dominance it has exercised in this department for almost a decade.

The introduction of a tight budget cap also means that it is unrealistic to expect bigger teams to completely overhaul their cars.

Is Hamilton looking to engineer move to rival team?

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Credit:

Former F1 driver and two-time world champion Hakkinen believes Hamilton will look to engineer a move away from Mercedes to make the most of the twilight years of his career.

“The last race in Australia was a tough spot for Lewis, really tough,” he said.

“The team naturally wants the drivers to finish the race. They got the result – not the result they hope for, but still good points for the team. But I’m sure Lewis is still annoyed by the situation.

“It’s hard to be beaten by George. I’m afraid this will be a really difficult season for Lewis. George comes from a team with little to no success – he had some good qualifying results but not in the races.

“All these achievements with Mercedes are new to him, everything feels super good. For Lewis, this is a disaster and, with George being ahead, it’s even worse.”

Hakkinen went on to say that the mere fact that Russell was managing to extract more from the car would be humiliating for Hamilton.

“I wonder how Lewis behaves in the team meetings. I bet he’s sulking – I can imagine it! Lots of complaining and whining,” he said.

“This starts the natural thought process of drivers, ‘Should I go somewhere else?’. It’s a fact. He’s been at Mercedes for years and won multiple championships. Now that things are not going well, he’ll start thinking of switching teams.”

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