British former racing driver and former television announcer for Sky Sports F1, Johnny Herbert, has questioned whether seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton could evaluate the possibility of a move from Scuderia Ferrari if Mercedes is not able to reduce the gap to Red Bull until the end of the 2023 Formula 1 campaign.
The German side had a poor start to the 2023 Formula 1 championship, which determined Lewis Hamilton to imply that Mercedes did not listen to his advice when working on the plans for the current single-seater.
At the same time, the British driver dismissed speculation that he would want to leave the team and move to Ferrari, while Mercedes had a better race at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, showing signs of improvement.
Johnny Herbert feels that Mercedes’ level of improvement for the rest of the 2023 Formula 1 season will play a very important role in Lewis Hamilton’s decision regarding his Formula 1 future.
“I suppose it’s down to what happens at Mercedes,” British former racing driver said in an interview for Standard Sport – “Can they turn it around? If that doesn’t work and Lewis still has the fire in his belly and thinks this is not the place for him where does he go?”
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When asked about other possible options for Lewis Hamilton, Johnny Herbert believes that time – or a lack of – may be a key obstacle in a possible move to the Maranello team: “Would he go to Ferrari? Does he want to go there as he feels that’s where he gets a championship?” Johnny Herbert added – “Would he feel he could take his energy and people from Mercedes there like Michael Schumacher did and actually change and steer it in a positive way? The problem with that is time.”
While the ex-television announcer for Sky Sports F1 feels that the seven-time F1 world champion still has the ability to fight for the most ambitious goals, he pointed out that the simulator aspect of racing is one key area that Lewis Hamilton may not be as comfortable with as some of his younger opponents:
“The biggest difference now is that the majority of the young generation of great drivers on the grid have something that Lewis has never been comfortable with and want to put all their energies in, which is the sim stuff. It adds a sixth sense.” – he continued.
Johnny Herbert also feels that Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate George Russell has the skill to challenge the to seven-time F1 world champion in the internal fight at the German side: “George has been able to challenge him and put him under a lot of pressure. George is going to be tough for Max Verstappen when he gets the right car. I think Lando Norris is the same given the right car.” – the former Formula 1 driver concluded.