Lewis Hamilton backtracks after demanding Mercedes apology

Lewis Hamilton criticised Mercedes after the Bahrain GP for having taken no notice of his feedback in regard to the W14.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has admitted that hitting out at Mercedes after the Bahrain Grand Prix “wasn’t necessarily” the best thing to do, with the veteran having come to the realisation that his “choice of words” wasn’t brilliant.

Hamilton was understandably frustrated after the season-opener, as Mercedes endured yet another woeful race, with the Germans having seemingly fallen further behind than they were at the start of 2022.

The 38-year-old ended the first race of the year in fifth but 51 seconds behind winner Max Verstappen, who was almost a second a lap faster than the 38-year-old.

Hamilton has had a chance to reflect on Bahrain, though, ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with the Mercedes driver having revealed that he still has “100 percent belief” in the Brackley-based team.

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“In hindsight, I think looking back it wasn’t necessarily the best choice of words,” Hamilton said on Thursday.

“Of course there are times where you’re not in agreement with certain team members, but what’s important is that we continue to communicate, continue to pull together.

“I still have 100 per cent belief in this team, it is my family and I’ve been here a long time, so I don’t plan on going anywhere else.

“But we all need a kick, we all need to get on – the proof is in the pudding, we’ve seen where the performance is and how people are extracting the performance, and we’ve got to now start making some bold decisions, some big moves in order to close the gap to these guys.

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“Hopefully at some point during the year, we’re hopeful we might be able to close the gap but at that point it will be probably too late in terms of fighting for a championship, but we can still turn some heads hopefully.”

As well as Hamilton’s comments questioning why Mercedes “didn’t listen” to him, the 103-time race winner’s future with the Germans has also been a talking point ahead of this weekend.

Many began to speculate whether Hamilton might decide to leave Mercedes at the conclusion of his contract this year, should the Silver Arrows continue to struggle.

He’s since come out and revealed that leaving Mercedes certainly isn’t the plan and that himself and the team “are in talks” over an extension, with the Stevenage-born driver being “fully integrated within Mercedes-Benz”.

“There are no performance clauses,” Hamilton said.

“We are in talks, just in the process of going through the motions of what that looks like, what the future looks like, what we want to do.

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“(We are) always looking to continuously challenge ourselves rather than just doing a driver’s contract like everyone does.

“What can we do? We did the Ignite partnership last year on how we can promote diversity within the sport, just exploring different avenues and what else we can do.

“I’m fully integrated within Mercedes-Benz. I’ve been with them for such a long time, since I was 13, so I’m very proud of the brand and the business, what they do, what they stand for and the impact they have throughout the world, but you can always do more, so discussions are around what else we can do together to lift people up.”