Ralf Schumacher believes that Lewis Hamilton will have to do some soul-searching after the first four races of the season, with George Russell holding the upper hand.
While Hamilton managed only a 13th-place finish at Imola, Russell came home in fourth, and Schumacher expects Hamilton to have been left thinking what the issue might be.
"We have to talk about Lewis Hamilton," Schumacher wrote in his column for Sky Sport Germany.
"He has to wonder why George Russell is so much faster than him. A 13th place is, of course, not what Hamilton is aiming for."
Schumacher: There could be changes at Mercedes
Schumacher reckons Hamilton will first have to accept that he is being beaten by his young teammate.
"He has to admit that Russell is the better driver right now," he said, and pondered whether the dynamic in the team may start to shift in the coming races.
"If things continue like this over the next few weeks, things will also get exciting in the team."
He suggested: "There may be changes in the ranking."
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No calls for a Hamilton retirement
But despite the momentum being with Russell, and Hamilton looking far from a title tilt, Schumacher doesn't think the 37-year-old should have taken the opportunity to walk away from the sport at the end of 2021.
"I am far from saying that Hamilton missed the point of retiring," he commented.
"Lewis continues to be one of the best drivers in the field, that's clear. However, the new concepts require the drivers to adapt a little. Hamilton is not used to that.
"Russell, on the other hand, is a young driver and they obviously get along better with it."
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