Lewis Hamilton’s former team-mate backs the seven-time champ to stay at Mercedes despite struggles
‘He wants to turn things around for Mercedes’: Lewis Hamilton’s former team-mate insists the seven-time champ IS committed to the Silver Arrows and will shun a move to Ferrari, despite the constructor’s recent struggles
- Lewis Hamilton has been linked to a move away from Mercedes to compete
- However, former team-mate Heikki Kovalainen believes he will stick around
- Hamilton was thought to be considering Ferrari in search for an eighth title
Lewis Hamilton has been backed to see out his F1 career with Mercedes by a former teammate.
Hamilton, 38, has won seven world titles to date, and an eighth would take him ahead of Michael Schumacher to stand alone as the most successful driver in the sport’s history.
But Mercedes have struggled to compete with the dominance of Red Bull and Max Verstappen in recent campaigns, leading to rumours that Hamilton would quit for Ferrari or another team.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he would not stand in the Brit’s way if he chose to leave the team in search of the record.
Heikki Kovalainen, who was Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes in 2008 and 2009, believes that the British driver is determined to work through the problems at his current constructor, rather than racing to find another home.
Lewis Hamilton has been backed to remain at Mercedes to try and turn around their struggles
Heikki Kovalianen (R) and Hamilton were teammates together back in 2008 and 2009
When asked about the prospect of a move, Kovalainen told Mirror Sport: ‘Personally, I don’t see that coming – to me, he’s committed to Mercedes.’
The Finn added that a private conversation in Hungary last year was revealing about Hamilton’s future plans. He said: ‘The body language and the feel I got from him, I just felt that this is something that he wants to turn around.
‘He wants to turn things around for Mercedes and that’s going to tick another box on his resume – to show that it’s not that he’s only been driving good cars and making the most of the good cars, but that he can actually turn a struggling team around and lead that team.’
Kovalainen backs Hamilton to have ‘the skill and the will’ to turn Mercedes back into winners despite their difficulties. The Finn said: ‘It’s going to be exciting to watch.’
Ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday, Hamilton confirmed that he had split with his long-term trainer Angela Cullen after seven years together.
Verstappen won the opening race of the season two weeks ago in Bahrain, leading a Red Bull one-two to reassert their dominance on the track. Hamilton finished back in fifth place, over 50 seconds off the pace.