Be selfish and quit, Lewis

Formula One great Rubens Barrichello urges Hamilton to jump ship to Red Bull

WILLIAMS driver Rubens Barrichello has urged Britain’s Lewis Hamilton to make the “selfish” career decision to turn his back on McLaren and join Red Bull if he wants a guaranteed shot at the world title next season.

Hamilton’s frustrating season reached a nadir at the European Grand in Valencia a fortnight ago when both he and Jenson Button criticised the performance of their cars.

That outburst fuelled speculation linking the 2008 world champion with a move to the sport’s most dominant outfit Red Bull. Both parties have attempted to downplay the link ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, but Barrichello believes Hamilton may find it difficult to resist Red Bull should they make him a genuine offer.

“Formula One is the sort of sport where you have to be selfish and make those kind of decisions if you want to get in the best places,” he told City A.M. “He is a champion and he wants to win. He knows what Red Bull is capable of so the attraction is there for him.

“It’s easy for us to say he should never leave McLaren because they gave him a start but he is the only one who knows deep down if this is going to be a team that is capable of getting back to the top and winning.”

Hamilton’s fractious relationship with former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso raised questions about his ability to race in a team containing two genuine title contenders.

A move to Red Bull would see Hamilton compete with defending world champion and this season’s runaway leader Sebastian Vettel, but Barrichello believes that scenario shouldn’t deter the 26-year-old from joining the Buckinghamshire based team.

“If you fear any of your team-mates you might as well not be in the sport,” he said, speaking at an event organised by recruitment company Randstad, a sponsor of the AT&T Williams team, at Canary Wharf. “He is used to racing with top class drivers so being in a team with Vettel wouldn’t put him off joining [Red Bull].”

Vettel currently leads the drivers’ championship by 77 points from his team-mate Mark Webber and Button. Hamilton is a further 12 points behind and Barrichello believes the McLaren duo will be cut further adrift unless it rains at Silverstone.

He said: “It’s not McLaren’s type of circuit. Red Bull are very powerful on the high-speed tracks. In the rain though, McLaren have their strategy worked out better than anyone. If the weather is bad then their chances will be much greater.”

Meanwhile, with only four points on the board, Barrichello (left) has endured a miserable season, his 19th in the sport, and at 39 years of age could be forgiven for considering his future. But the Brazilian claims his passion still burns as bright as ever.

He said: “Racing is an addiction for me. I’m here because I love what I do. If it was for the money I would have stopped a long time ago. It’s been a difficult year but it hasn’t changed my motivation.”