Ex-F1 driver Martin Brundle says Lewis Hamilton's admission that he wanted to retire from the Spanish Grand Prix was an alarming indication of the Briton's apathy so far this season.
After contact with Kevin Magnussen on Lap 1 at Barcelona, Hamilton fell to the back of the field with a puncture, and radioed his team to suggest retiring his W13 in order to save mileage on his power unit.
With Hamilton and Mercedes having struggled so far in 2022 after eight years of almost unbroken success, Brundle said he felt the Briton's message indicated how little Hamilton was enjoying this season so far.
"Lewis's radio call-in after falling to the back of the field with a puncture, basically wanting to stop and 'save the power unit mileage', was alarming in that it gave us the true picture of how little he's been enjoying this season," Brundle wrote in his column for Sky F1.
Lap 1 collision could have cost 'spectacular' result
Mercedes had brought updates to Barcelona after their troubled start to 2022, and the Silver Arrows seemed to have made a step forward in competitiveness.
George Russell finished third after holding his own for several laps against eventual winner Max Verstappen, while Brundle noted he was particularly impressed by the speed Hamilton showed during his recovery drive from the rear of the pack.
"Lewis' contact with Kevin Magnussen on the opening lap surely cost him a chance of a spectacular result," said Brundle.
"He was 50 seconds behind the leader on lap two and 54 seconds at the end despite backing off by four seconds on the final tour."
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Brundle hails 'deserving' winner Leclerc
Brundle also reserved praise for Charles Leclerc, who was in a comfortable lead when he pulled off with a power unit issue on Lap 27.
"The most deserving winner of the race was surely Leclerc in his rapid Ferrari," said Brundle.
"Starting on pole position having delivered a stunning qualifying lap under big pressure after an earlier spin, he delivered the perfect launch from the grid, stayed out of the gravel trap unlike Verstappen and team-mate Carlos Sainz, and was serenely driving to victory with so much time in hand he could pick any tyre strategy, when his power unit failed.
"Leclerc's first non-finish in 16 races, he would also lose the championship lead in which he was 46 points ahead just three races ago.
"It's been a rough ride for him while Max has won every race where he's made it to the chequered flag this year."
F1 Podcast: Did off-track matters ruin the spectacle at the Spanish GP?
RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the Spanish Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen won a thrilling race after Charles Leclerc retired. But was the on-track action soured by a poor fan experience at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya?