Ex-F1 drivers sending mixed signals to Hamilton about future

Lewis Hamilton at German GP FIA Formula One World Championship 2012, Grand Prix of GermanyJul.21 (GMM) Respected ex-F1 drivers Sir Jackie Stewart and David Coulthard have advised Lewis Hamilton to stay with the McLaren team beyond 2012, but 1996 world champion Damon Hill thinks it could be time for him to move on.

Celebrating his 100th race at Hockenheim this weekend, 2008 world champion Hamilton is reportedly considering leaving the famous British team that gave him his grand prix debut back in 2007.

“I see no need for him to move away from McLaren,” triple world champion Stewart told the Daily Mail. “I think it would be quite daft if he did.

“He knows they have got the resources,” added the 73-year-old Scot. “You have to have the basic ingredients and McLaren have all of them and know how to do it and they have got a very experienced group of people.”

Stewart also thinks Hamilton, 27, will find it hard to get “the sort of salary he enjoys” elsewhere.

Former McLaren driver Coulthard agrees with Stewart that McLaren is Hamilton’s best bet for 2013.

“McLaren are a special team, a massive team and you do not give up a race seat there lightly,” he wrote in his latest Telegraph column.

Coulthard said moving to Lotus would be a “huge punt” for Hamilton if he wants to win the world championship again.

“No, I would advise Lewis to stay right where he is, and I am sure he will,” added the Scot.

But former Williams title winner Hill said Hamilton might be right to think the grass could be greener elsewhere.

“I’m sure Lewis feels that his trajectory had him down for at least two world championships by now, if not three,” he told the Express newspaper.

But Hill conceded: “To try a move might be a risk for Lewis. But the counter argument is whether you can grow successfully within the same organisation.

“When you start off as a very young boy with an organisation, sometimes it’s difficult for that organisation to realise that the young boy is no longer a young boy, he’s a man, able to make his own decisions and go in his own direction.

“It can be a question of whether he gets that at McLaren.”

Stewart, meanwhile, said he thinks that Michael Schumacher should finally call his 19-season F1 career a day after his Mercedes contract expires this year.

“He should have got it out of his system by now, in my mind.” he said.

“I would like to see him maybe getting a victory this year and then retiring.”

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone disagrees, arguing that he is “always happy” to see the iconic German on the grid.

Former Force India driver and fellow German, Adrian Sutil agrees: “If I was in his situation, I would probably go on too,” he said on German television Sky.

Hans-Joachim Stuck, the German motor racing federation president, told Spox: “In my opinion, he is long overdue for a win.”

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  • Andy – London

    I wish Jackie Stewart would just shut up sometimes.
    He has done so much for the safety of F1 that benefits the modern day cars and drivers but to say Michael should give up is out of order, especially if you look at the level that he is competing this year. If you are the fastest man around Monaco and have been on a podium this year, you still have amazing talent and reflexes. He is still quicker than 16-18 of the cars out there, and is probably only surpassed in modern day racecraft by Alonso. I used to have Button right up there with racecraft but yet again it is proven that he is very average when the car is even slightly off. I like Jens, its a shame but it’s true.