‘As soon as the passion wears off, he will be left with it being his fault’: Lewis Hamilton will come to regret his support for BLM, says former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone as he describes taking the knee as a purely ‘fashionable’ thing among athletes
- Bernie Ecclestone has provided his forthright thoughts on Lewis Hamilton
- The former F1 boss believes Hamilton is now ‘not quite the fighter he once was’
- Hamilton is locked in a fierce title battle with Red Bull star Max Verstappen
- Ecclestone has also had his say on Hamilton’s continued support for BLM
Bernie Ecclestone fears Lewis Hamilton has lost his fighting spirit as Max Verstappen pulls clear in the Formula One title battle.
Hamilton trails Verstappen by 32 points after nine rounds and the seven-time champion will be desperate to claw back some ground at this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
Ecclestone said: ‘Perhaps Lewis is not quite the fighter he was. There are lots of occasions this year where he could have done better and he hasn’t. He has had no competition over the last few years. The equipment has always been super and he hasn’t had to make the effort.
Bernie Ecclestone (right) feels Lewis Hamilton (left) ‘is not quite the fighter he once was’
‘At the beginning of the year, I thought he would look to win the championship and then retire, but it appears not — even though I wouldn’t rely too much on contracts. He can escape from that.’
Hamilton, 36, has just signed a two-year deal to remain at Mercedes but is now winless in five races. He fell off the track at Imola in April, made an unforced error to surrender an unlikely win in Azerbaijan last month and then finished a distant fourth two weeks ago in Austria.
‘He probably had a look at the clothing range and music but realised it is not as easy to make money there as it is in Formula One,’ suggested Ecclestone.
He also criticised the new sprint race which will be trialled for the first time on Saturday, arguing it is ‘messing around with history.’
Ecclestone (left) and Hamilton (right) have a history in the sport but offer different opinions
Qualifying has been moved to tomorrow with the sprint race determining the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
‘The minute you start mucking around with these things, the history disappears and that is not a good thing,’ warned Ecclestone.
‘People would say somebody has 70 pole positions, but that has gone now. There is no such thing as a pole position. I don’t think it is going to work or continue. It is an unnecessary confusion for no reason.’
When asked if he still speaks regularly to Hamilton, Ecclestone replied: ‘On and off. The last time was around the time of his support of Black Lives Matter.
Hamilton promoted the Black Lives Matter movement throughout the 2020 campaign
Many drivers on the grid continue to take a knee before a race as they fight discrimination
‘Lewis thought I was against it but he was wrong because I know what he is trying to do.
‘He called me because I spoke to his father, Anthony. I said the trouble for Lewis is that he has gone out of his way to wave the flag for Black Lives Matter and that people are making an awful lot of money out of this, and not him. As soon as the passion wears off, he will be left with it being his fault. And all he has ever done is try to do something to support it.
‘It is the same thing with football where these things have become the fashionable thing to do to make it look as if you are interested in doing something. But I wonder what people actually do apart from talking about it? Lewis has done more than most on this. I don’t know what the footballers have actually done other than support each other.’
Ecclestone revealed he has spoken ‘on and off’ with Hamilton since the Mercedes driver took issue with comments made by the 90-year-old about his Black Lives Matter support
A lack of ‘competition’ in recent years has allowed Max Verstappen to oust Hamilton, he added