“Has Lewis Hamilton checked out?” - Mercedes “divorce” explanation put forward

Lewis Hamilton's departure from Mercedes has been likened to a "divorce".

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the drivers' parade. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the drivers' parade. Formula 1…

Former W Series driver Naomi Schiff has likened Lewis Hamilton’s departure from Mercedes to a “divorce” amid his difficult start to the season.

Hamilton has struggled for form so far in F1 2024 relative to Mercedes teammate George Russell.

Russell leads 8-1 in the qualifying head-to-head after Montreal and sits ahead in the drivers’ championship.

Hamilton’s poor form, particularly on a Saturday, has resulted in a number of cryptic messages from the seven-time world champion.

The 39-year-old suggested after Monaco that he wouldn’t be able to out-qualify Russell again this year.

However, in Canada, Hamilton seemed to take more personal blame for his lack of qualifying performance.

Speaking on the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 podcast, Schiff gave her views on Hamilton’s performance.

“I think once the opportunity is there it triggers in you which wakes you up, you become a bit more alert,” she said. “I think if we take this back to what happened in Abu Dhabi 2021. Coming back in 2022 with a car which was not able to get revenge was probably really frustrating for Lewis.

“I can imagine how from a psychological perspective that may have bogged him down a little bit. It was a lot to come back from and to not be able to have your say immediately, it must have been tough. I think 2023, I felt it was turning around, you could see that he was a little bit happier, a little bit more confident and a little bit himself again.

“For whatever reasons coming into this season, that seems to have gone away.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Schiff believes it’s inevitable that the relationship between Hamilton and Mercedes would deteriorate.

“That in itself is not going to be comfortable for Lewis,” she added. “You could see that already in Monaco there was some weird body language and Lewis saying he was going to out-qualify George for the rest of the season.

“I don’t know if there’s an all new layer or psychological aspect that’s coming in essentially with what’s a divorce with Lewis and the team. It’s going to happen throughout the season. Inevitably he’s going to be left out of important meetings, George is going to be the preference for the team in terms of that.

“All these things are going to plant a little bit of doubt both in the teams’ head and Lewis’ head. What game are they playing? Has Lewis checked out? Is he still onboard? I think both of them are going to try and do whatever they can. I know there’s a sentiment from Mercedes and Lewis that they want to end this on a high.

“There’s so much respect there but the reality of it all is when that doubt starts to creep in, can you maintain that relationship with the team? It’s got to be hard.”

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