After fans around the world placed Lewis Hamilton third in a vote for the most popular F1 driver, British journalist Jeremy Clarkson alleged that the 7-time champion lost to Verstappen and Norris because he had changed.
Clarkson stated that Hamilton lost popularity when he stopped being his usual reserved self and became vocal with his political and social opinions, which made people start hating him. “…Lewis has changed…he decided to go woke and more politically correct…we all just want to throw something at him,” said the journalist.
Coming out to defend his best driver currently, Mercedes’ group CEO, Toto Wolff differed with Clarkson and was convinced that people don’t appreciate Hamilton because they are jealous of his achievements.
“I think…all of us lose more than we win…and it is very difficult then for people to cope with a person they think has it all, who wins all the time,” Toto argued.
According to Wolff, the defending F1 champion would have been valued more if everyone knew the struggles he went through before fame came knocking. He (Wolff) thinks the world can’t cope with how fast the record 100-times grand prix winner rose, and how easy it seemed.
“…the story of his earlier life, the financial struggles…racism he was exposed to…was never in the public eye,” the Mercedes CEO revealed. “What people saw was a young man coming into F1 and being successful from the get-go…People can’t cope with it,” he further added.
Lewis hasn’t been supported recently as he was when he just started out, and his team boss had an answer why; “The more you win, the more people cheer for the underdog.”
Toto believes that after the 36-year old retires, the world will look back and finally appreciate what he did. “Only when he retires, I think, will people comprehend the magnitude of his achievements.”