Listen to this article here

No one has dominated Formula One racing in its entire history more than Lewis Hamilton. However, even with his all-time record of 103 wins, the seven-time world champ is saying Mercedes “did not listen” to him over the development of their underperforming F1 car.

Lewis Hamilton has been winning trophies since the ’90s

“Last year, there were things I told them. I said the issues that are with the car,” Hamilton told the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast. “I’ve driven so many cars in my life. I know what a car needs. I know what a car doesn’t need.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Karting Feature 1996. © Sutton

Lewis Hamilton finished fifth in the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, over 50 seconds behind the race winner, Max Verstappen, according to The Guardian.

Millions of in-person spectators, members of the media, and viewers of the Netflix series, “Formula One: Drive to Survive” have grown accustomed to seeing Hamilton cross the checkered flag comfortably first and climb onto podiums across the globe — but last year was different.

YouTube video

Industry changes proved to be a consistent hurdle for Team Mercedes

According to Sky Sports, at the onset of the 2022 F1 season, across-the-board changes to all cars required they all maintained a “ground-effect floor.” 

This would mandate cars have two long underfloor tunnels which create a ‘ground effect’ – allowing more suction under the car to pull it to the tarmac, while also ensuring more of the downforce is generated from under the car.

Another change implemented was the simplified front wing and a sharp new rear wing, designed to stop sending airflow outwards, narrowing it instead.

Along with 18-inch tires with wheel winglets to improve the handling of the cars and help direct air away from the rear wing, these throwback yet innovative measures have been nothing short of a bumpy ride for Hamilton.

With Team Red Bull dominant again at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Hamilton also found himself outpaced by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz at the Sakhir circuit.

YouTube video

Knowing something was askew with the new car long ago, Hamilton stated before the season-opening race that Mercedes were on the “wrong track.”

On Sunday, having added after the result that their 2023 model was “not the right car”, he renewed his public criticism of the team’s recent strategy on Wednesday.

“I think it’s really about accountability,” the 38-year-old added. “It’s about owning up and saying, ‘Yeah, you know what? We didn’t listen to you. It’s not where it needs to be and we’ve got to work.’”

After driving a car that wasn’t able to complete the final race of the 2022 season in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton’s increasing frustration with the car is apparent to anyone listening.

YouTube video

The Guardian reports Hamilton’s team principal, Toto Wolff, admitted in Bahrain that the Silver Arrows, who won eight consecutive constructors’ championships prior to last season, will have to abandon their controversial “zero-sidepod” concept in order to challenge again.

Rumors of Hamilton exiting the Mercedes stage have begun

As the F1 season kicks off and on the heels of a massively disappointing 2022 campaign, rumors have begun to swirl about Hamilton potentially leaving Mercedes for a more competitive car in F1.

Those rumors are coupled with the fact that Hamilton’s Mercedes deal is up at the end of this season, and the team’s performance and in-season adjustments will likely play a seismic role in his decision-making.

Asked if there is a Plan B if Hamilton decides to move elsewhere – or to quit – Wolff said: “There is no point talking about the driver situation for 2024. That is far too early. We all have to push in the same direction, the drivers, engineers and management, rather than throwing in the towel. We have never done that and we will not do that now.”

YouTube video

Only commenting on winning the next race, Hamilton added, “We’ve got to look into the balance through the corners, look at all the weak points and just huddle up as a team. That’s what we do.”

He stated, “We’re still [multiple] world champions … just haven’t got it right this time. Didn’t get it right last year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get it right moving forwards.”

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...