5 November 2013
Prost warns Hamilton change is necessary
Alain Prost has suggested that Lewis Hamilton needs to change his approach to F1 if he is to get back on terms with Sebastian Vettel in the sport's impending new era.
Despite admiring the Briton's 'all-out racer' approach to F1, Alain Prost believes that Lewis Hamilton needs to rethink if he is to get back on terms with four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.
The German racked up his latest title just over a week ago in India, and continued his relentless winning streak in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, taking his current record to seven in a row stretching back to F1's summer break in August. Having spent a lot of time in the Red Bull pit through his connections to engine supplier Renault, Prost has been well-placed to observe Vettel's approach, and believes that he has an advantage over Hamilton as the sport heads into a new technical era in 2014.
“The way Sebastian works with people in the team, we know that he is doing little things different to the rest,” the Frenchman, like Vettel a four-time king of F1, revealed, “That gives him an advantage and makes him more confident.
“On the other side, there is a guy like Lewis, who is more of a pure racing driver. I consider Lewis as one of the quickest drivers - maybe one of the best - but is he using his full potential? Maybe not. Maybe next year he will find another motivation, but at the moment he is finding it very hard to beat Sebastian, and I think he should change [his approach] a little bit.”
The switch to 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines, coupled with a revamped version of the current KERS technology and reduction in fuel loads, will reward the more cerebral driver, according to Prost – and this is where 'le professeur' thinks that Hamilton must adapt or risk becoming an also-ran.
“Before, you had the car in your hands, it was a raw package,” he reasoned, “But now it is a package that will suit someone like Sebastian. Now you are not driving by yourself. You are going to have all this computerised equipment behind you and you might get a different reaction. Maybe when we meet in March, maybe we will say something different but, at the moment, I have to say that the new regulations will suit Vettel and not Hamilton….”
Hamilton started the Abu Dhabi weekend by questioning whether he would be in position to win a second title, particularly with Red Bull's current dominance, but it is not only the Briton who Prost thinks may suffer as the Milton Keynes team attempts to maintain its status in the new era with the pairing of Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.
"Vettel has to be the team's number one next season,” he said, noting Ferrari's strengthened potential formed by the partnership of champions Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, “You don't want to destabilise completely a team, especially with new regulations, by signing another top driver. You don't want to create a problem, what is going to be the advantage?"
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