Lewis Hamilton should have called time on his 15-year F1 career after suffering world title heartbreak in December, according to ex-Jordan, Ferrari and Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine. The Northern Irishman believes Hamilton will be ‘frustrated’ with Mercedes’ early-season struggles in 2022.
Mercedes’ hopes of winning a ninth successive constructors’ championship this year have suffered a huge blow at the start of the new campaign. Ferrari and Red Bull are leading the way, with Charles Leclerc replacing Hamilton as Max Verstappen’s closest title challenger.
The Brit was silent for months after Verstappen controversially beat him to the 2021 drivers’ championship and surprised many by returning to the grid this season. However, he scraped third on the opening weekend in Bahrain and exited in Q1 in Saudi Arabia last weekend, finishing 10th in Sunday’s race.
Irvine believes Hamilton should have quit F1 at the end of last season after being cruelly denied a ‘deserved’ record world title. He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Verstappen makes a mistake because he gets carried away with his aggression [last season]. I think Hamilton last year acted in such a way as to avoid accidents for quite a while.
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“Then he must have thought, ‘that’s enough, you want collisions? You’ll get them’. And that almost cost Verstappen the championship because Lewis destroyed him in Abu Dhabi. It’s a shame he didn’t win it because he deserved it, but he should have retired.”
Irvine clarified his comment by stressing that Hamilton should’ve walked away from the sport after the events in Abu Dhabi. “Yeah, because I don’t think he’s going to be able to do much this year,” Irvine added. “He’s tough, but even for him, who is used to the best car, to qualify so far behind is frustrating.”
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