Lewis Hamilton's reputation has been damaged according to former F1 driver and commentator Christijan Albers because of the fact that he hasn't yet signed a contract with Mercedes with whom he's won 6 of his 7 world titles. Over the past couple of months, reports have emerged that Hamilton has been gunning for a higher salary than his current 40 million euro a year deal which is the highest in F1, alongside a share in the team's winnings and a long term deal with the German marquee.
This has shocked Daimler chief Ola Kallenius who believes that Hamilton should be open to be taking a pay cut and is hesitant to offer the Briton a long term contract considering he is already 36 years old. The Daimler stable also believes that Hamilton is not irreplaceable after seeing the performance of George Russell who substituted for the British driver in the second Bahrain GP when he was down with COVID.
''If he had signed four months ago, he would not be in this situation now. He took that risk himself to wait for an even higher salary, and now he is in a bad position,'' says Albers in the De Telegraaf podcast indicating that Hamilton's situation becomes worse because of the stellar performance that Russell delivered.
Albers was also critical of Hamilton stating that the legendary driver often projects a clean image propagating positivity and activism towards the environment, veganism and the upliftment of the black people. Hamilton was one of the reasons F1 came up the mantra of #weraceasone while the Mercedes team changed its livery to black in wake of the #Blacklivesmatter movement.
Albers believes that Hamilton is divergent with the message he projects as he himself travels in a private jet increasing the carbon footprint. Famously, Hamilton expressed negativity towards a proposed race in the Brazilian city of Rio.
''When you see how he presents himself with the environment and everything, then you have to behave accordingly. Then you can't fly around the world in your private jet, because then you get hit. People are going to resist. He is supposedly going to fight for the world, but it is better for him to be the underdog for a while because now it comes from all sides with the environmental issues and his salary, that is not good for his image,'' says the Dutchman in the podcast of De Telegraaf.
''What does ten or twenty million matter. Whether he gets 30 or 50 million a year. It is a lot of money, but he just has bad luck. The world is on fire and you have to take into account that your business model might have to change,'' concludes the former F1 driver.