Alain Prost assesses Lewis Hamilton motivation in Max Verstappen Red Bull block theory

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton looking contemplative on the grid at Abu Dhabi 2021 with a menacing-looking Max Verstappen in a small circle

Lewis Hamilton has not won a race since being dethroned by Max Verstappen at the infamous 2021 Abi Dhabi Grand Prix

Four-time World Champion Alain Prost believes Lewis Hamilton could re-find his motivation at Ferrari, theorising that the presence of Max Verstappen is what made a Red Bull move impossible.

Hamilton signed a new multi-year Mercedes contract in the summer of 2023, though ahead of the F1 2024 campaign shockingly activated a release clause which allowed him to link-up with Ferrari as of 2025.

Alain Prost sees Max Verstappen as Red Bull block to Lewis Hamilton

That allegedly came after Hamilton had approached F1’s dominant team Red Bull, but got knocked back, with Prost suggesting that a Red Bull pairing of Hamilton and Verstappen would never be allowed.

Discussing Hamilton’s Ferrari move with Sports Illustrated, Prost said: “I can understand his decision because obviously when you are in a team like Mercedes, when they did not win a race for two years and they are really struggling to go back to the front, and at his age he has said, ‘Okay, why not try something different’.

“I mean, I’m not sure if he had the possibility to go to Red Bull, but not with Max for sure. So that’s not possible. Then you can go to Ferrari, especially with the regulation change in ‘26. Then you only have one year, ‘25, that way you can [settle into the team].”

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Ferrari has faced some scrutiny though over their Hamilton acquisition considering how the F1 2024 campaign has gone so far for the seven-time World Champion, versus the performances of the driver who he will replace Carlos Sainz.

Hamilton is yet to finish a race ahead of team-mate George Russell this season at the wheel of the struggling Mercedes W15, while Sainz has claimed a dominant win in Australia and two further P3 finishes in his outings. That Australian GP victory came off the back of a remarkable recovery from appendix surgery for Sainz.

Prost believes there is perhaps a question to be asked of Ferrari, but reckons it is possible that Hamilton rediscovers his motivation, even if he has concerns over how long the Hamilton and Ferrari union could last.

“After ‘26, he will be 42, I think, maybe even 43, so it’s going to be another story,” Prost continued. “But I can understand, if you don’t want to stop racing. The question is, is it a good move? Is it going to be a good choice? Also, for Ferrari, you could ask the question.

“It’s good for the sport because everybody’s going to watch. You could have an idea, but the idea or the perception you could have today is going to be different next year at the same stage, because he will be one year older and will he find his motivation back being at Ferrari?

“It is possible because if it’s for a short time, maybe only one year, if Ferrari is going well, I think he could find the motivation back.”

Hamilton will find Charles Leclerc on the other side of the garage at Ferrari, the Monegasque racer a product of the Ferrari Driver Academy, while Prost warned Hamilton that he will experience a “different pressure” at Ferrari compared to anything he has faced before.

Prost himself raced for Ferrari between 1990-91.

“The relation with Charles, you know, the ambience at Ferrari is also [important],” said Prost.

“[He has had] such a long period with an English-[based] team, Mercedes, with a way of working and then you go to an Italian team, especially with the different pressure, different way of thinking, he is under pressure from the media. I think it’s not that easy.”

Hamilton will hope to achieve that elusive eighth World Championship with Ferrari which would see him set the new outright F1 record.

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