Lewis Hamilton has slammed three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart as “short minded”, after the Scotsman insisted that the Mercedes drive is “no longer” hungry to fight for the title.
It was confirmed ahead of the Italian Grand Prix that the seven-time World Champion would be staying with Mercedes for another two seasons, taking him to the end of 2025 at the Silver Arrows.
By agreeing to a new deal, Hamilton has at least two more opportunities to claim an unprecedented eighth world title, something he controversially didn’t achieve in 2021.
In order to win an eighth Drivers’ Championship and get Mercedes back to the top, he must first dethrone Red Bull and reigning World Champion Max Verstappen.
Whilst Stewart doesn’t doubt that Hamilton is “one of the best” in F1 history, he’s unconvinced that the 38-year-old has the ability to fight for the championship and that he has “serious problems” to address going forwards.
First of all, Lewis is one of the best to ever drive in Formula 1,” Stewart told BILD.
“But the truth is that in the last decade he competed with Mercedes for a team that was virtually out of competition.
“During this time, Lewis only had one real competitor: his respective team-mate. Except for 2016, he always emerged victorious from the duel. And then he lost to Nico Rosberg. With respect: a good driver, but not the most talented in the world.
“But Rosberg was hungry and had the absolute will to become world champion. Lewis no longer has that hunger. Because of that – and because the car is no longer quite as powerful – he has serious problems.”
Hamilton has since responded to Stewart’s comments and has insisted that he’s “very short minded” for not knowing that is going on “in the background”.
There is no doubting that Mercedes and Hamilton are working tirelessly to try and be in a position where they can take the fight to Red Bull in 2024, given that 2023 is almost over.
“There are people who are very short minded that make the comments that they do, not knowing the work that has been done in the background,” Hamilton told the BBC.
Hamilton wants to prove to the next generation that making mistakes is okay, something Mercedes have made several of since the new aerodynamic regulations were introduced in 2022.
However, the 103-time race winner also stresses that he wants to be an inspiring figure and not an individual who shuts down others.
“One thing I hope, and I never want to do is, in the future, when I one day stop and looking back on the youth or the next driver generation, I want to be encouraging them and let them know it’s okay to make mistakes,” Hamilton said.
“It’s about being inspiring rather than shutting them down. That’s the kind of figure that I want to be.”