Drive To Survive Reveals Beginnings Of Mercedes-Hamilton Split

2024 Bahrain Test, Day 2 Lewis Hamilton
2024 Bahrain Test, Day 2 Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton’s decision to leave Mercedes might be traced back to technical disagreements last year.

This week, former Ferrari driver Mika Salo said the seven time world champion’s decision to swap Mercedes for Maranello makes little sense to him.

“I believe Hamilton knows something that the rest of us do not yet know,” the Finn told Iltalehti newspaper.

And as the new season of the Netflix series Drive To Survive now hits TV screens, it emerges that Hamilton, 39, was particularly bruised by his advice to Mercedes bosses as they struggled with their 2023 car concept.

Hamilton began complaining of his cockpit position in 2022, and was dismayed that it remained the same for 2023. For 2024, that issue has now been resolved with the all-new Mercedes concept.

But it may have come too late, with the British driver only agreeing a single-year contract for 2024 late last year with a further driver-triggered option for 2025.

In an interview for the latest Drive To Survive season, Hamilton said: “I remember complaining to the team and being like, ‘Look, we have to make these changes, otherwise this is the trajectory we’re going to go on and this is where we’re going to end up’.

‘Please, please do something about it’,” he recalls pleading. “I remember they said, like ‘We know what we’re doing. You’re wrong’.

“That was definitely an interesting moment,” Hamilton admitted. “I was like, ok, I’ll step back, I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes.

“Then when we got into the season, then we spoke again (and they said) ‘Oh, maybe you were right’.”

The implication is that Hamilton lost faith in Mercedes’ ability to give him a shot at winning a record eighth’ drivers’ world title before his career ended.

“I can’t really remember winning,” Hamilton said. “It’s been a minute, to be honest. I don’t remember what that feeling is.”

In another scene from 2023, as Wolff and Hamilton discussed the latter’s contract extension in front of the Netflix cameras, Hamilton told his boss: “You can be here for like 20 more years, 30 more years. I can’t.

“These are precious years for me.”

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