‘Some older drivers have a bee in their bonnet’: Lewis Hamilton takes a swipe at Sir Jackie Stewart after F1 legend says superiority of Mercedes car is ‘almost unfair on the rest of the field’
- Sir Jackie Stewart said he did not rank Hamilton in the very top band of drivers
- Hamilton moved level with Michael Schumacher on 91 victories on Sunday
- He says he will never talk down about young driver when he is retired
Lewis Hamilton has fired a thinly veiled shot at Sir Jackie Stewart for denying him the credit he believes he is due.
Hamilton became the joint-highest race winner in Formula One history at the Eifel Grand Prix on Sunday as he moved level with Michael Schumacher on 91 victories.
Last week, Stewart said he did not rank Hamilton in the very top band of drivers, headed, he argued, by Juan Manuel Fangio and Jim Clark. He pointed out there were fewer F1 rounds in earlier eras so it was impossible to rack up 90-odd wins.
Lewis Hamilton has fired a thinly veiled shot at Formula One legend Sir Jackie Stewart
He added of Hamilton’s Mercedes: ‘The car and engine are now so superior that it’s almost unfair on the rest of the field.’
But the reigning six-time world champion has taken aim back. ‘I get knocked by many people, particularly by older drivers,’ he said. ‘They have a bee in their bonnet. I don’t know why. I have so much respect for the past legends, even though they continue to speak negatively about me.
‘In 20 years’ time, I can promise you that I will not be talking down about any young driver that is coming through.
Stewart said last week that he did not rank Hamilton in the very top band of drivers
‘There is a responsibility as an older driver to shine the light and encourage them, whether it is Max Verstappen, or whoever it may be, chasing the record that I eventually set.’
Hamilton, 35, and triple world champion Stewart, 81, have endured rocky relations for some years and they clashed during lockdown over Hamilton’s diversity crusade. Stewart insisted racism in F1 was ‘not as big of a problem as it might seem’. Hamilton labelled those remarks ‘just disappointing’.
On the question of greatness, Hamilton, who is chasing a seventh world title to match Schumacher again, said: ‘There is a lot of talk in all sports about this, but it is impossible to compare people. If you put all the top drivers in the sport in the same season and the same car that would be something, but it is not important to me.
Stewart said that the superiority of the Mercedes car is ‘almost unfair on the rest of the field’
‘You can be remembered for having the most wins and that is something special. But it is the obstacles I have faced that matter most. Everyone has a different journey and you should not be knocked for that.’
Hamilton revealed he rang his father, and former manager, Anthony, after Sunday’s win, a sign of their deepening closeness after some fragile years. ‘There were definitely a lot of emotions,’ revealed Hamilton of the latest conversation, his voice breaking. ‘My dad and I have never been so close. It is remarkable and makes me so much happier that we talk a lot, which I never thought we would do.
‘We were together last weekend, and we now have grown-up conversations about all sorts: politics, food, training, relationships. He sent me a text the night before the race and said, “You know what to do… I know you are going to do it”. That is how he has been from day one. Family is everything.’