POLE POSITION: The resentment will only fester if Lewis Hamilton clings on at Mercedes – it’s too late for him to regain the status he craves

I’ve seen worse body language from a driver sitting in his own camper, but not since 2007 when Fernando Alonso moodily pushed his way through a Peer at the press conference after an argument with his then McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton in Hungary.

Yet Hamilton’s attitude this week – monosyllabic and making a few jokes to George Russell – was the inevitable consequence from the moment he told Mercedes he would be with them for life and then dropped the bombshell that he was actually going to start next year would transfer to Ferrari.

It would never end well. Mercedes would feel slighted; Hamilton would succumb to his natural tendency towards paranoia; Russell’s abilities would reveal themselves (he has beaten the seven-time world champion 8-1, a mighty feather to wear in his cap). These factors were behind the clumsiness on display here just nine races away. And the only way out is for Hamilton to take the rest of the season off. Otherwise, resentment will continue to fester.

Another layer of resentment is the correspondence sent in emails and a WhatsApp after the final round in Canada, claiming to have been written by a Mercedes employee, alleging that Russell is being dramatically favored. ‘Sabotage’ was a word that was used. I can’t see it, although a Hamilton backer has told me directly that he thinks it is.

What is more likely is that because Hamilton decided to leave the nest and embarrassed Wolff in the process, Russell’s case will be more heavily burdened. He is the man who stays, part of Mercedes’ future, not their past.

Lewis Hamilton’s attitude this week and the George Russell jokes were inevitable from the moment he said he was leaving

Mercedes has contacted police via an anonymous email accusing them of 'sabotage' Lewis Hamilton over the seven-time champion's decision to switch to Ferrari

Mercedes has contacted police via an anonymous email accusing them of ‘sabotage’ Lewis Hamilton over the seven-time champion’s decision to switch to Ferrari

Russell has beaten Hamilton 8-1 and things are getting tougher

Russell has beaten Hamilton 8-1 and things are getting tougher

The only way out for Hamilton is to take the rest of the season off, otherwise the grudge will continue

The only way out for Hamilton is to take the rest of the season off, otherwise the grudge will continue

It’s hardly Russell’s fault if this is so. He drives superbly, even if he pushed himself slightly over the limit in a courageous effort in Canada (where he passed Hamilton for third at the death – ouch). George has clearly seen the merits of keeping Wolff close, a fact Hamilton has sniffed at before.

Russell has also had to overcome the fact that he started the season in a car created with more Hamilton’s input than his own, as the seven-time world champion would still remain with Mercedes as their GOAT. As one team member said to me, β€œIt set us back a year. Lewis is not a designer, yet it was all done to his specifications.”

That balance has of course shifted. Lewis no longer gets the respect for Fort Knox that he once had.

In my opinion, Hamilton should either express for himself the sentiments expressed by his supporter(s) in the email and text message – or condemn them outright, whether the sender is from Mercedes, within his circle or from a random fan. Yes, he said at the testy press conference: “We need support, not negativity,” adding, rather implausibly, that he was not aware that “George was experiencing negativity.” But he added, “Of course, things can always be better in the team,” which was a faint echo of the much more strongly worded email.

What Lewis wants back is his old position of prominence. But on the way to Ferrari it is too late for that.

What was that for my feet? Part of the turnstile on the way to the press center at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona – a place so dilapidated that you would consider yourself lucky in modern Formula 1.

In addition to facilities that are not suitable for hosting a world-class sporting event, it usually also offers an elegy of a race.

The Circuit de Catalunya is lucky to be in F1 - it's unsuitable and makes for a dirge of a race

The Circuit de Catalunya is lucky to be in F1 – it’s unsuitable and makes for a lament of a race

There are stepladders hanging like a trap on the stairs, adding to the unkemptness. Overall, the venue (like some other European circuits) is stuck in the 1990s, and the sooner the Spanish home of the race moves to Madrid in 2026, the better.

One race in Spain is enough if other countries ask questions about organizing a new Grand Prix and thus take the road to the door of Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

Lewis Hamilton urged Silverstone bosses to reduce ticket prices from their starting three-day fare of Β£339. I think it’s the going price if it’s a sip for a family of four. Still, a total of 480,000 visitors were reported last year.

To be fair, Silverstone has improved its facilities in recent years. The roads in and out are as well organized as anywhere in the world. As well as making smart use of the lanes at key times, Silverstone has also encouraged more people to camp, reducing the daily influx of traffic.

Hamilton has urged Silverstone bosses to cut prices, but his calls came with irony

Hamilton has urged Silverstone bosses to cut prices, but his calls came with irony

Flavio Briatore is Alpine's new advisor... but he was once banned from F1 for life!

Flavio Briatore is Alpine’s new advisor… but he was once banned from F1 for life!

While Hamilton may have a point, there is an irony in the fact that his huge wages of over Β£50 million, the result of his actions as a brilliant driver and keen negotiator, come from the same ecosystem as Silverstone. The public pays; Silverstone pays F1; F1 pays the teams; the teams pay Hamilton et al.

Flavio Briatore is Alpine’s new advisor. That can’t be the same Flavio Briatore who was once banned from the sport for life, right?