Mercedes made another dismal start to the season in Bahrain as Hamilton lagged over 50 seconds behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on his way to finishing fifth, two places ahead of teammate George Russell

Why Mercedes car concept needs to CHANGE

The seven-time world champion complained before the race that Mercedes were a “long way off” fighting at the front, while he also raised doubts over the team’s car concept for 2023. 

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff conceded in Bahrain that the once-dominant Silver Arrows would have to abandon their unique ‘zero sidepod’ concept in order to get back to winning ways. 

Following F1 2023’s curtain raiser, Hamilton claimed Mercedes ignored him over the development of their W14 challenger after he raised “issues” about the team’s troubled predecessor. 

Asked if he was surprised that Hamilton called out the team publicly, Brundle told the Sky Sports F1 Podcast: “A little bit. But quite clearly Lewis feels he is not getting enough traction just chatting to them.

“He obviously feels they are not paying attention and he has had to go public with that. It is highly unusual because he is always the ultimate team player really. 

“A driver like Lewis is not going to want to go somewhere else in a hurry and it’s not a tantrum. He’s obviously felt the need to go public with something because he felt he wasn't being listened to closely enough within the team.

“Also I think it’s the start of a very, very long season and after the race in Bahrain there were a lot of very disappointed drivers. The emotions, the sheer frustration and disappointments I think were pouring out because they realised Red Bull were in a different race basically.”

Brundle added: “I don’t think Lewis is in any different position to say Lando or Charles at Ferrari of stamping their feet a little bit and saying: ‘hang on, what are you doing about this? 

“‘Tell me what we’re doing in terms of updates, in terms of personnel, in terms of moving this game forward because it looks an awful lot like like last year at the moment’. 

“I don’t think it’s all about ‘I’m leaving, I’m out of here’. Sometimes you have just got to stand up and go ‘this is not right’.” 

However, Brundle suggested Hamilton’s criticism could be a “bit of game-play” amid negotiations with Mercedes over a contract extension. 

“We have to remember Lewis is in the middle of a negotiation as well,” Brundle said. 

“I’m 100 percent certain Lewis would always follow the performance and not the money, but you aren’t going to turn down a big pay cheque if you can get it as well. 

“There might be some pressure at Mercedes-Benz to reduce his pay, as it were. So there’s a bit of negotiation and a bit of game-play in this as well.” 

Brundle said he also believes Hamilton will be tempted to try and emulate Michael Schumacher by joining Ferrari and help turn F1’s most famous team back into winners.