Montoya: “Did Hamilton forget how to drive? No, that doesn’t happen”

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya says if Mercedes gives Lewis Hamilton “a winning car”, they’ll “see how different he’s gonna behave”.

In an interview with Vegas Insider, Juan Pablo Montoya gave his thoughts on Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ current struggles.

“Lewis is struggling and people are like: ‘it really shows it was just the car, look how good is George [Russell]’,” Montoya said.

“I’m a big fan of George, I really like Lewis as well. I think the biggest difference is that you got to remember, George has been in Williams for the past three-four seasons.

“So, he’s been in the melee every weekend. Like he is ‘traffic, traffic’ and racing people all day.

“And Lewis, the last seven-eight seasons, he’s been cruising by himself every weekend. He hasn’t really raced people because when he gets to lap them, everybody needs to get out of the way.

“All of a sudden he’s stuck in traffic and it doesn’t matter how good you are, if you don’t practice it, it’s hard.

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“Somebody who’s been doing it all his life [like Russell], it doesn’t mean [Hamilton is] worse, it’s just going to take him more time to figure it out.

“I think Lewis is not as comfortable and I think the car is doing a lot of different things.”

Montoya went on to say that older more experienced drivers are oftentimes not as eager to go to the limit if they know their machine in unable to take them far.

“I think Lewis is at a point that if the car doesn’t drive really, really good, I mean when you’re younger, and I’ve been through it, when you’re younger, you’ll drive it however it is and you think it’s okay. As you get older and wiser, you go – ‘uh, it’s not driving well, there’s no point’.

“I think you always want to drive the wheels out of the car but a guy like Lewis that has been used to winning every year, and championships, I think, for him to qualify 10th or 12th, it’s kind of the same thing.

“Give him a winning car and you’ll see how different he’s gonna behave.

“I know he doesn’t want to get his ass kicked every week by George. George looks a lot more comfortable and is pushing, and he’s got a point to prove.

“Whereas Lewis doesn’t really need to prove anything. I think Lewis is really focused on making the car better and is just really uncomfortable in the car.

“Did he forget how to drive? No, that doesn’t happen. You don’t forget overnight.

“He’s just not happy with the car,” the Colombian concluded.

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