F1 analyst Peter Windsor said a “disillusioned” Lewis Hamilton is not good for the series, while suggesting Valtteri Bottas still being his Mercedes team-mate could have made for a different story.
F1 2023 marked a further campaign of disappointment for Hamilton, who rather than returning to the title scene as he and Mercedes had targeted, instead found himself going without a single victory for the second season running.
And the campaign very much ended on a low note for Hamilton, who suffered back-to-back Q2 eliminations and in Abu Dhabi lost out in a late battle with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, consigning him to a P9 finish as Mercedes later claimed their driver was battling a brake issue.
‘Disillusioned’ Lewis Hamilton not good for F1
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Windsor suggested that Mercedes’ choice of team-mate for Hamilton played a role in his rather sombre F1 2023.
Mercedes replaced Bottas, who partnered Hamilton across four of his title-winning years, with George Russell for 2022, who after getting the better of Hamilton in their first season as team-mates, was comfortably seen off by Hamilton in the latest campaign.
“If he was in a Red Bull this year or maybe with Valtteri in the other car, I think we would have seen a different Lewis,” Windsor claimed.
Alas, neither of those scenarios were true as Hamilton bids to quickly move on from F1 2023 and find fresh motivation in the hope of a title challenge to come next season.
And Formula 1 best hope too that this comes to pass, Windsor seeing zero positives for the series or Hamilton himself from this “disillusioned” state seen at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP.
“Very disappointed, very disillusioned and very sad to see,” said Windsor of Hamilton’s demeanour in Abu Dhabi.
“This isn’t what Formula 1 needs, this isn’t what Lewis Hamilton needs.
“Obviously, all his motivation and all his hope is based on the 2024 Mercedes, so from his point of view, let’s hope it is a good car. But very sad to see Lewis in that situation.”
Lewis Hamilton not ‘playing the victim’ with F1 win claim
As Hamilton and Mercedes fight to return to a position where they can challenge for titles and even just wins again, Hamilton recently suggested to Blick that adding another grand prix win to his current tally of 103 would “probably be the greatest triumph of my career”.
A fan would then ask Windsor whether this is the admission of a driver who knows that record eighth World Championship is now out reach, or if Hamilton was “playing the victim”?
Windsor shut down both lines of thinking.
“He’s not playing the victim, I totally get what he’s saying,” said Windsor.
“Of course it will, after all this time, totally winless for two years now, of course if he wins again it’s going to feel like winning the World Championship. I think that’s a totally appropriate, normal thing for him to say. I don’t see him playing the victim at all.
“Of course he thinks that Mercedes are going to have a very quick car next year and he’s got all the talent in the world and give him the car, he can win the World Championship, let alone grands prix. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be getting out of bed to go racing.”
Mercedes are set to deliver a “more conventional” concept for the W15 as team and driver look to return to title contention in F1 2024.