Former F1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, recently opened up on reigning world champion, Lewis Hamilton. According to him, the 5-time world champion represents “the best and worst” of Formula 1.
In 2019, Hamilton is hoping to clinch his sixth World Championship crown and 5th in a row. If he does win, he will move a step closer to matching Michael Schumacher’s record of seven titles. A decade ago, any F1 fan would have whole-heartedly said that Schumacher’s record would stand the test of time. But now, given Mercedes’ domination in recent years, it is looking less likely.
While speaking to Corriere della Sera, Ecclestone touched upon a number of topics ahead of the 2019 campaign. The 88-year old pegged Lewis Hamiton as a “unique” driver, who can shine the spotlight on himself and on Formula 1.
“He’s unique,” Ecclestone admitted in a Q&A session with the Italian publication. “He’s the best and the worst for F1.”
“The best because he knows how to promote the sport like no other and the worst because he takes away the attention from F1 to move it on himself.”
“He isn’t doing anything wrong, but the other drivers have to wake up and show their personality.”
Continuing, Ecclestone also believes that Sebastian Vettel is the favourite to win the World Championship this year.
“I believe that this time Ferrari will win, with Vettel,” Ecclestone replied.
“I feel happy about the atmosphere in the team and about the car. Although Hamilton is the favourite.”
“He [Vettel] is very intelligent, he has many interests in every field.”
“But he’s reserved. As soon as the race is finished, he returns home to his wife and children. It’s all the opposite of Lewis.”
“Do you know what I suggested to him? To open up more, to show that he’s different from what it looks like [from the outside].”
“You can trust Seb, he’s a ‘real’ person. I trust him blindly, I would give him a blank check.”