Damon Hill accuses Hamilton of ‘putting the pressure’ on Mercedes

Hamilton opens up on plans to remain in F1 ahead of new season

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Damon Hill has warned Lewis Hamilton is “putting the pressure” on Mercedes bosses after he delivered an outburst at the team ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Hamilton slammed Mercedes chiefs for not listening to his ideas over the W14’s development.

He demanded engineers responsible to “own up” after the team struggled for performance in Bahrain. Hill admitted the remarks were “not very supporting” and are Hamilton’s attempt to dial up the tension on those making decisions at the Silver Arrows.

Hill told the F1 Nation podcast: “Lewis has raised the issue. He’s come out and said, ‘I did tell them, they didn’t listen. That’s not very supporting. That is putting pressure on, so if anyone’s putting pressure on, it’s Lewis. I think Lewis puts more pressure by him being in the team than anything we could say or do.

“They know the problem, they know they’ve got to sort it out, and that’s going to be an opportunity. That’s the way Toto puts it, he’ll say, ‘This is an opportunity for us to show what we’re made of, and show the world what we’re capable of doing.'”

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After the race, Hamilton appeared to motivate his mechanics despite finishing 50 seconds behind Max Verstappen.

In a touching message to the squad, Hamilton stressed the team had done “great work” over the winter and revealed he still “believed in them”. However, his position then appeared to change as he hit out at the German manufacturer.

Speaking to BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast, Hamilton explained: “Last year, there were things I told them. I said the issues that are with the car. I’ve driven so many cars in my life, so I know what a car needs. I know what a car doesn’t need. I think it’s really about accountability.

“It’s about owning up and saying, ‘Yeah, you know what? We didn’t listen to you. It’s not where it needs to be and we’ve got to work.”

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Hill appeared to criticise Hamilton’s U-turn and opened up on the reason behind his change of opinion. Hill added: “[It’s] mixed messages. After the race, he got on the radio and said ‘we’ve got work to do guys, I’m right behind you, 100 per cent supportive’.

“And then there was this line that came out to say, ‘I did warn them, I told them that I didn’t like the car’. You kind of go, you can’t criticise and also be 100 per cent supportive.

“There’s obviously constructive criticism, but he’s disappointed. He knows what’s ahead.”

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