Hamilton’s ‘fighting spirit’ for Ferrari title questioned

Mon, 3 June 2024, 10:16

Jun.3 (GMM) Ferrari may have got the decision to replace Carlos Sainz with Lewis Hamilton next year wrong, former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher insists.

While Sainz is yet to secure a replacement seat for 2025 and beyond, seven time world champion Hamilton’s move is clear – and his relationship with Mercedes is now “starting to crack”.

“At Monaco, Hamilton made clear that he felt he was at a disadvantage,” Schumacher told formel1.de. “Let’s not forget that he is leaving a team that is starting to focus on George Russell.”

He said Hamilton remains “a world class driver” even if he’s currently being outpaced by Russell, but what Schumacher does question is the wisdom of Ferrari deciding to oust Sainz as Charles Leclerc’s teammate.

“My gut feeling is that they should have kept both drivers,” Schumacher said.

However, he doubts team boss Frederic Vasseur is having serious regrets.

“The contract is far too big for that,” he said, “with far too much money involved.

“I don’t know who came up with the idea, but the problem is that Carlos Sainz is a good number 1.5 driver,” the German added. “You can’t actually call him a number 2.

“He really came close to Leclerc and that’s why I thought the team was extremely good already. I don’t know who exactly expects more from Hamilton.

“Of course Hamilton wanted to leave because he wants an eighth title and he knows that it will not work out at Mercedes at the moment,” Ralf said. “The question is, how much more is he willing to give for it?

“In terms of fighting spirit, he is simply not a (Fernando) Alonso.”

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