Double World Champion Mika Hakkinen believes Lewis Hamilton and his mindset is “not 100% in racing anymore”, and F1 may no longer be the “most important thing” in his life.
Hamilton’s future has been the subject of much speculation, though he is believed to be nearing a contract extension with Mercedes following talks with team boss Toto Wolff after the Spanish Grand Prix.
His current deal expires at the end of 2023, and has led to natural speculation about what his next move may be – including links to a surprise move to Ferrari – though both Hamilton and team principal Fred Vasseur said no contact was made on either side.
Hakkinen, World Champion in 1998 and 1999 with McLaren, believes the 38-year-old’s priorities may have changed, as is natural with the passage of time – and the pressure of beating an up-and-coming George Russell race by race may not be the “right future” for him.
“Lewis Hamilton joining Ferrari would be a surprise,” Hakkinen told Unibet when asked about the rumours linking Hamilton with the Scuderia.
“Does money motivate drivers? I know Lewis’ head is not 100% in racing anymore. It’s completely normal.
“But does money motivate? Of course it does, but there are many risks involved. I think it’s highly unlikely he will join Ferrari.
“I always say that when people get older, the order of your thoughts change. Your priorities in life change.
“Formula 1 just won’t be the most important thing anymore. It wouldn’t surprise me when the competition gets tougher and young drivers emerge, what George Russell is doing with Lewis at the moment, result-wise, it’s not an easy situation.
“Does Lewis have enough energy to wake up every morning, give his everything and bring results so that he can beat his team-mate? Is that the right future for him?”
Mika Hakkinen makes a valid point, but Lewis Hamilton has always had other interests
While Hakkinen is right to say that people’s priorities change with time, as is only natural as people’s lives progress – no matter what walk of life they have – what has always been true in Hamilton’s case is that he has balanced other interests with his love of racing.
Perhaps that could even be a reason why he has enjoyed the success he has in the sport, being able to separate his passions from his day-to-day job of being a driver.
Be it through surfing, music, now as a film producer, his work with the Hamilton Commission and everything else besides, his interests have always been varied, so it could perhaps even be argued that the Mercedes driver’s head may never have been 100% in racing in the first place – as a bit of distance from work, and it is work, from time to time can do people the world of good.