Bernie Ecclestone, former Formula 1 boss claims Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has been “fed up” with Lewis Hamilton and has advised the seven-time world champion to quit the sport before the end of his contract.
Hamilton’s future has been the subject of intense speculation following his controversial second place finish in the 2021 World Championship standings, before the 37-year-old agreed to a two-year contract extension ahead of this season.
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However, Ecclestone doubts Hamilton will see the deal after admitting it could be in the driver and his team’s interest to part ways after the 2022 season.
The Briton struggled in the new Mercedes car this year and was one of the most vocal critics of the new phenomenon for 2022 of porpoisingwhich sees the cars’ current design bouncing off their suspension at high speeds.
hamilton complains of excruciating back pain in the wake of the Azerbaijan GP, which he described as the most brutal race of his career.
While Hamilton managed to clinch a place on the podium ahead of Mercedes teammate George Russell at the Canadian Grand Prix recently, it’s one of the rare occasions this year where he has come out on top against his young compatriot.
In fact, of the nine races so far this year, Russell has finished as the top Mercedes driver in seven of them – to take fourth place in the drivers’ standings.
Hamilton, on the other hand, is sixth in the world championship standings and faces the prospect of finishing outside the top five for the first time in his glittering 15-year career unless he can turn the tide.
Ecclestone says he suspects part of the problem is that Hamilton no longer has the same passion for the sport he once had.
” I did not think [Russell] was so good, but he did a great job,” Ecclestone commented.
“I’m surprised. Or is this a case of Lewis doing a poor job? A bit of both.”
Lewis Hamilton battling Mercedes in 2022
The 91-year-old former F1 chief said it would not come as a shock to him if Hamilton approached Wolff to call him after this season.
“Lewis could sell his position to Toto,” Ecclestone told the Daily Mail.
“‘That’s how much I get, I’ll walk away and give myself half of what I get’ – Toto can go and do one of his magic deals, offer someone less money and keep 20 million pounds.
“Nobody needs to tell Toto because he’s already thought about it. Lewis would probably stop under these circumstances.”
Wolff has made no secret of his displeasure with the car Mercedes has provided Hamilton with this year, even going so far as to call it a “s**tbox” earlier in the season.
However, Ecclestone says the Mercedes boss must be “fed up” with what he sees as Hamilton’s lack of effort and nonchalant attitude to defeat.
“Toto is a little fed up with Lewis. I don’t think he’s trying, is he?” he asked.
“Let’s put it another way, Lewis doesn’t seem embarrassed to lose.
“It’s not like him. He has a competitive nature but he takes defeat a bit easily for my taste.
“I don’t think he actively helps George. I don’t think he does anything. I don’t think he cares too much. He is not ready to make the effort he made to win.
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