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Ecclestone: Lewis is not the racer he was

NEWS STORY
28/04/2018

Though he closed the gap to Sebastian Vettel in China, it was more about the German's issues, including the predictable encounter with Max Verstappen, that saw the world championship leader finish a distant eighth.

Though Hamilton has been on the podium twice this year, he is the first to admit that it has not been a great start. With Mercedes, for the first time since the introduction of the new engine formula in 2014, going three races without a win, the increased pressure from Ferrari and now Red Bull is beginning to tell.

While the Briton has always had the odd weekend where nothing goes quite right, observers have noted that in twice losing out to teammate Valtteri Bottas in qualifying, the Finn has also twice finished ahead of him on race day, leading to Toto Wolff admitting that Hamilton is not in the "best place" at present.

Making his first visit to the F1 paddock this year, Bernie Ecclestone agrees, suggesting that Lewis isn't the driver he was.

"I don't know whether it's me, but when you talk to him and see him act the way he acts generally, he's not the racer he was," he told Sky Sports.

"He's still very quick, still super talented, still a super nice guy," he added. "But maybe he just getting a little bit tired of travelling and he's fed up with things.

"I thought he would win every race, so I've been proved wrong," admitted Ecclestone.

Yet to sign a new deal with Mercedes, a piece of obvious PR fluff issued earlier this week saw the Briton insisting that he wants to "make history" with the German manufacturer. Indeed, it is claimed he was ready to agree a new deal after China but instead headed off to California for the Coachella festival.

Despite his desire to make history, Hamilton has long talked about life after F1, suggesting that there are a number of avenues he would like to pursue including music, acting and fashion.

Meanwhile, Ecclestone is in no doubt as to who he wants to see win the 2018 title.

"It would be nice to see Sebastian win because he's a mate of mine and I support him always," he admits. "So I hope he can get the job done."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Baku, here.

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