Yesterday, former world champion Lewis Hamilton made some strange remarks to the media while in Australia preparing for this weekend’s grand prix around the Albert Park lake in Melbourne. Hamilton suggested that rival Mark Webber could be thinking about retirement after the 2010 season, especially if the campaign goes well and the Australian is able to leave the sport on a high. Today, Webber denied these remarks although respected Hamilton’s right to an opinion.
Speaking to the Australian press, Lewis Hamilton stated that Webber has as good an opportunity to take the title this year as anyone, especially after many drivers have come forward and stated they believe the Red Bull RB6 is the fastest car on the grid at the moment. It is Hamilton’s belief that should Webber take the title this year, he could walk away from Formula One.
He has as good an opportunity as anyone to win the championship this year. I’m not sure how long he plans to stay in Formula One but I get the sense it’s one of the years he really wants to finish on top and perhaps call it a day.
That’s not from me. I don’t know how old he is now but he’s had a long Formula One career and everyone wants to end at a high. And he’s probably got the best chance to ever finish on a high this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s considering it – that he wants to win the championship this year and call it a day. Lewis Hamilton.
It seems strange for a driver to discuss another in this manner, especially if, should he be asked, he could simply say, “I have no idea, you’d have to ask Mark.” However, Hamilton decided to offer his opinion, perhaps to unnerve the Australian at his home event.
Webber responded today in a respectful and polite manner, informing the media that he is not thinking about retirement and has approached the 2010 season in the same way he has previously, adding that he is enjoying working with the Red Bull team and is very motivated for this year’s campaign.
[I am] very motivated, enjoying my job and looking forward to a great season, it is the way I have approached every year. I have no intention of retiring give or take whatever season I have.
It is Lewis’s opinion and he is free to have it and I don’t have a problem with what he said. I am happy driving for the guys I am driving for, it is a good situation and I am looking forward to it. Mark Webber.
Now that Lewis Hamilton has parted professional company with his father – the 2008 world champion instead deciding on a new management team while McLaren look after his affairs in the meantime – it had been hoped by myself that these odd and sometimes silly remarks would be curtailed. However, Lewis has decided to speak up about a rival on a matter that to me, seems to be personal and should only come from the driver involved. While speculation and questioning is sometimes fine, it doesn’t usually come from the drivers who will often avoid such questions. The context of the remarks made by Hamilton isn’t entirely known, but the fact he is discussing the future of a fellow pilot just seems strange.