The disagreements that drove Hamilton away from Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton’s surprise shift from Mercedes to Ferrari is stirring quite the conversation, especially with former Ferrari driver Mika Salo weighing in. Speaking to Iltalehti newspaper, Salo expressed his bafflement, stating, “I believe Hamilton knows something that the rest of us do not yet know.” It’s a move that has many pondering the underlying reasons, particularly in light of the recent developments shared in the Netflix series “Drive To Survive.”

The series sheds light on Hamilton’s experiences with Mercedes, revealing a couple of years of technical disagreements that left the champion feeling sidelined. Despite raising concerns about the car’s concept and his cockpit position as early as 2022, his feedback seemed to fall on deaf ears, with no changes made for the 2023 season. It was only for the 2024 car concept that Mercedes addressed his concerns, possibly a case of too little, too late.

Hamilton’s frustration is palpable in his interviews for the series. He recounts telling the team, “Look, we have to make these changes, otherwise this is the trajectory we’re going to go on and this is where we’re going to end up. Please, please do something about it.” The response he got was dismissive, with the team asserting, “We know what we’re doing. You’re wrong.” Reflecting on this, Hamilton said, “That was definitely an interesting moment. I was like, ok, I’ll step back, I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes.”

This exchange marks a pivotal moment, indicating a rift in trust and communication between Hamilton and Mercedes. Later admissions from the team, acknowledging that perhaps Hamilton was right, seem to have come too late to salvage their relationship.

The decision to move to Ferrari seems to reflect Hamilton’s search for a team that values his input, aligning with his urgency to compete at the highest levels in his remaining years. His poignant reflection, “I can’t really remember winning. It’s been a minute, to be honest. I don’t remember what that feeling is,” underscores the depth of his frustration and his craving for victory.

In a telling conversation with Wolff captured by Netflix, Hamilton highlights the finite nature of a driver’s career, saying, “You can be here for like 20 more years, 30 more years. I can’t. These are precious years for me.” It’s a reminder of the time-sensitive ambitions driving Hamilton’s decisions, pushing him towards what he hopes will be a rejuvenating chapter with Ferrari.

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