- Lewis Hamilton has endured a difficult start this season after signing a two-year contract extension with Mercedes last summer
- According to the two-time F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen, there is a possibility that Hamilton could be thinking about joining a new team
- The seven-time F1 world champion sits at position five on the F1 table standings with 43 points behind leader Charles Leclerc
- Hamilton won his first Formula One title with Mclaren in 2008
Following Mercedes’ difficult start to the season, two-time Formula One world champion Mika Hakkinen has speculated that Lewis Hamilton may be considering joining another team.
Hamilton is now 43 points behind leader Charles Leclerc following the Ferrari driver’s resounding victory in Melbourne last weekend, putting the Silver Arrows in a race to save their season.
Mercedes isn’t the only team struggling to adapt to new regulations; Red Bull is also trailing after Max Verstappen failed to finish in Australia.
Hamilton, whose contract with Mercedes was extended until 2023 in July, has been left to lament his team’s inability to improve their car despite significant upgrades.
According to Hakkinen, Hamilton’s future with Mercedes could be jeopardized due to Mercedes’ issues.
“I’m afraid this will be a really difficult season for Lewis,” the 1998 and 1999 world champion told Unibet. “Now start the natural thought process of drivers. Should I go somewhere else? It’s a fact.”
He added: “It’s already difficult for Mercedes, but especially 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. He went so far as to say, “For Lewis, this is a disaster. And, with George being ahead, it’s even worse.
“I wonder how Lewis behaves in the team meetings. I bet he’s sulking – I can imagine it! Lots of complaining and whining.” Hamilton is sulking because Russell is ahead of him in the rankings following a podium finish in Australia.”
The Finn is speaking from experience, having spent time at the sport’s summit with McLaren, but Hamilton is focused on turning around Mercedes’ campaign for the time being.
After spending some time in Kuala Lumpur as part of a sponsorship expedition, he expects to make significant improvements when he races in Imola on April 24.
Hamilton, who was on track for a podium finish in the Australia GP before Sebastian Vettel’s lap-22 crash, is focused on reducing the gap and trusting his team to improve his car swiftly.
“I will be on Zoom calls with our bosses and really trying to rally them up,” said Hamilton. “We have got some improvements that we need to make, and we need everyone’s support in doing so
WHICH TEAMS COULD HAMILTON POSSIBLY JOIN IF HE LEFT MERCEDES?
Hakkinen claims it is a ‘fact’ that the F1 star will be thinking about his options. Sportsleo looks at two teams that may be on his mind:
Hamilton has already spent five years and won a world championship with McLaren. However, unless the Woking-based team is willing to pay the price to release Daniel Ricciardo from his contract, he will have to wait until 2023 for a reunion.
After tying down his future until 2025, Lando Norris appears to be going nowhere, and his presence might conceivably go a long way toward luring Hamilton in.
However, many would see leaving the Silver Arrows for McLaren as a step backwards, and paying off Ricciardo may be too expensive.
The F1 star has a strong sentimental attachment to McLaren, having won his first Formula One title with the team in 2008.
A move to the Galloping Horse would be the most difficult of the bunch, but it would also be the most preferred for Hamilton due to the team’s legendary status in the sport.
In the Drivers’ Championship, Charles Leclerc is leading and blazing a trail, while Carlos Sainz is far behind, although the Spaniard has agreed to a new deal.
A contract is only worth as much to Ferrari as it would cost to break it, just as it is to Ricciardo.
If Sainz’s writing is still fresh on the paper, that may seem like a lot of money, but the chance to buy a seven-time world champion in a competitive car does not come along very frequently.
Hamilton has previously shown interest in joining Ferrari.