Martin Brundle thinks the team radio message from Lewis Hamilton urging Mercedes to retire his car in Barcelona reflected his lack of enjoyment this season.
The Spanish Grand Prix was only a few laps old when Hamilton, after an early collision with Kevin Magnussen, got on the radio to say “I would save the engine if I was you guys – I’m sorry”.
The seven-time former World Champion appeared less at fault than Magnussen, who in turn was cleared by the stewards, when they clashed at Turn 4 on the opening lap and after each driver made a pit-stop due to a puncture, they were running well behind the rest of the field.
But Hamilton made up ground brilliantly and would have finished as high as fourth but for having to ‘lift and coast’ towards the end of the race due to a DNF risk, which allowed Carlos Sainz to pass him.
Yesterday was another day that reminded me just how much I love this sport. Going from your emotions hitting the floor to ending on a high is such a thrill. All of our hard work as a team is starting to pay off. Together we are making progress! Can’t wait for this weekend. pic.twitter.com/fsNLeocoap
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) May 23, 2022
Brundle, along with the vast majority of spectators, was highly impressed – but also concerned by what he had heard from the 37-year-old Briton at the point when he thought all hope of a strong placing had gone.
The Sky F1 broadcaster believes it was indicative of Hamilton’s state of mind in a campaign when Mercedes have been outperformed by Red Bull and Ferrari and he has achieved only one podium finish, falling 28 points behind his team-mate George Russell in the standings.
“Lewis’ contact with Magnussen on the opening lap surely cost him a chance of a spectacular result,” wrote Brundle in his Sky Sports column.
“He was 50 seconds behind the leader on lap two and 54 seconds at the end despite backing off by four seconds on the final tour.
“Lewis’ radio call after falling to the back of the field with a puncture, basically wanting to stop and ‘save the power unit mileage’, was alarming in that it gave us the true picture of how little he’s been enjoying this season. Presumably 65 laps later he was somewhat more satisfied after showing great pace.
“The fans knew their stuff as usual in voting him driver of the day.”
Hamilton will try to build on that more encouraging weekend on the streets of what is now his home in Monaco, where he finished a frustrating seventh last year after being stuck behind Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri throughout the race.
Mercedes are 75 points behind new leaders Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship.