Lewis Hamilton would risk being eclipsed by Charles Leclerc the way Sebastian Vettel has if he moved to Ferrari, according to Bernie Ecclestone.
“Has he gone off a little bit,” Ecclestone told Autocar, “and if so why? Probably the way he’s sort of been dealt within the team.”
“He was sort of number one in the team,” said Ecclestone. “All of a sudden the kid from nowhere that nobody’s heard of comes along and performs, and everyone fell in love with him at Ferrari.
“So I think it probably felt a little bit… I mean I’m very close with him and we don’t talk about things like that, but I think behind things, he would never say it but perhaps he feels a little bit that he’d been put on the back burner a little bit.”
Ecclestone named Vettel, Hamilton and Max Verstappen as the top drivers in F1 at the moment. But the backing they get from their teams is vital, he added.
“All these guys are as good as the support they get. Lewis has got the maximum support. There’s not one thing missing from what he’s got behind him.”
A move to Ferrari would risk losing the status Hamilton enjoys within his current team, Ecclestone believes.
“He’s used to being more or less in a lot of ways in charge. And I think if he went to Ferrari, if their number two, what they consider semi number one, continues to perform he wouldn’t survive there.
“Because if they fell in love with Leclerc, that’s what will happen. And they’d bury him.”
Read Autocar’s in-depth interview with Bernie Ecclestone in the next issue of the magazine, due out on Wednesday.
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