Norbert Haug has backed Lewis Hamilton to keep his “desire” for an eighth World title, after a difficult start to the season.
Hamilton finished outside the points at Imola last time out in a Mercedes that has struggled to keep up with the front-runners so far this season, and has already ruled out his title chances for the year.
Haug, formerly vice-president of Mercedes’ motorsport operation, thinks the team have made a car that is not up to scratch so far in 2022, but believes Toto Wolff needs to help his team through their current issues and get back to the front.
“I suspect Mercedes has had a miss with the new W13,” Haug told SPEEDWEEK. “So you have to save what can be saved. I don’t predict that it will succeed immediately, but I say it’s not in the realm of the impossible.
There could be light at the end of the Mercedes tunnel as the team have found "several directions" for W13 improvement.https://t.co/HjP9ZdN16C #F1 pic.twitter.com/r0ihUkQpPa
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) May 4, 2022
“The most important thing is that you, as the boss, stand in front of your team and make the wall. It’s better to be a smooth talker towards the board, the press, partners than to openly criticise your team. No finger-pointing, but work through the problems bit by bit.”
Haug also worked with Hamilton at McLaren in the early part of his Formula 1 days, and he firmly believes that the seven-time World Champion could, and perhaps should, have two more titles to his name at this point of his career.
He added that he is “not worried” about Hamilton dropping his intensity in searching for solutions, and the man himself insists that he will decide when his Formula 1 chapter will end, despite his difficulties this season.
“I don’t think Lewis will lose the desire,” Haug said. “He has lost the title twice, in Shanghai in 2007 in his first year in F1 due to a wrong decision in our team and in 2021 due to a wrong decision by the FIA.
“Otherwise he would have nine titles already. I’m not saying [Max] Verstappen doesn’t deserve the title, but those are the facts.
“Lewis’ driving performance is equivalent to nine World Championship titles, and now he’s chasing the eighth. Of course he still wants to achieve that.
“I’m not worried about Lewis losing motivation. George Russell got the maximum out of the race and benefited from retirements of rivals who would have been in front of him, but you have to be there at the right moment and he did that very well.”
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