Jacques Villeneuve says generally champions can simply determine they’ve had sufficient within the wake of Lewis Hamilton’s poor begin to the season.
The seven-time former World Champion’s low season earlier than the 2022 marketing campaign was removed from ideally suited. Within the wake of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that noticed Max Verstappen topped champion for the primary time as a substitute of Hamilton incomes a record-breaking eighth, the Mercedes driver disappeared from social media.
The 37-year-old defined his absence as a must “unplug”, however when Toto Wolff mentioned each he and Hamilton felt disillusioned by the game rumours started to flow into we might have seen the final of Hamilton on the monitor.
Hamilton finally broke his silence to substantiate he can be returning however since then, he could also be beginning to remorse his resolution to take action.
His season to this point has been one among ups and downs. A 3rd-place end in Bahrain was adopted by P10 in Saudi Arabia. Subsequent was a fourth-place end in Australia however each in Melbourne and Bahrain, Hamilton’s excessive place was a results of Purple Bull’s reliability points reasonably than Mercedes’ pace.
At Imola, Hamilton was made to endure a weekend to overlook, qualifying poorly and struggling to overhaul Pierre Gasly which resulted in a Thirteenth-place end – solely the second time he has crossed the road outdoors of the factors since 2013.
No one might be certain of the mindset Hamilton is in however 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve has urged the Mercedes driver might have had sufficient.
“Will Hamilton nonetheless be there in two, three years?” the Canadian wrote in his column for Formule1.nl. “Will he even attain the top of this season?
“You possibly can’t see into somebody’s head. You might be down and depressed otherwise you might be unable to take care of now not successful.
“Then possibly it’s time to determine life is best with out racing. We’ve been stunned previously – it’s occurred that champions have generally simply had sufficient.”
Villeneuve additionally urged having a “megastar” within the workforce corresponding to Hamilton might show to be a headache for Mercedes.
“At Mercedes, they now in any occasion must discover ways to lose,” he wrote. “For years, they drove everybody into the bottom. If somebody obtained nearer, they simply opened the throttle.
“This yr, they don’t have that benefit anymore. George Russell is doing a very good job within the position of underdog. He discovered this at Williams, whereas Hamilton has at all times had one thing to battle for.
“A couple of columns in the past, I used to be already questioning how they may deal with this inside the workforce. At Imola, we already noticed Toto Wolff has issue controlling himself. His radio message after the race spoke volumes. That wasn’t solely aimed toward Hamilton however the entire world. A nasty outcome for Russell doesn’t generate criticism however for Hamilton it does.
“That is the danger of getting such a megastar in your workforce. Hamilton wasn’t in the suitable rhythm from the off this weekend. He additionally didn’t look aggressive sufficient, as if he couldn’t battle. That he ended up getting lapped can occur. That’s the sum complete of all of the components, plus the dangerous automobile.
“He gained’t hold having such horrible weekends and he’ll beat Russell. But it surely gained’t be simple being the top of the Mercedes workforce proper now.
“Do you select your megastar, your poster boy, the record-breaking champion with the worldwide picture who prices you a mega wage? Or do you develop the automobile for the promising expertise? An enormous star like that is nice in the event you win, it will get you lots of publicity. But when he doesn’t win, the backlash is a lot greater. A champion doesn’t have the suitable to not be aggressive.”