Damon Hill believes that Mercedes could run the risk of losing Lewis Hamilton if it insists on trying to control its star driver.
The 1996 world champion, who just launched the Professional Drivers Association which aims to provide a platform for drivers to express their views beyond the politically correct realm of their team, says that Mercedes would be ill-advised to keep Hamilton tied-down by as a lack of freedom was one of the reasons why he left McLaren at the end of 2012.
"Lewis is an emotional beast and there might be a situation where he just goes: ‘I’ve had enough and I don’t want to do it’," Hill said.
"That’s true for every driver but some don’t have the luxury he has, as he might be in demand somewhere else."
Hamilton enjoys a lavish lifestyle which he sees as his own personal brand and as a necessity to his balance. While Mercedes may take issue with the image he sometimes projects, his success in the sport and mega-star status award him a fair amount of clout.
"He is in a strong position. Mercedes have to recognize they either want Lewis Hamilton, the asset that he is to them and allowing him the space to do his work, or they don’t.
"If it’s not going well for Lewis, then he does have a tendency to make his feelings known.
"If they overplay what Toto was saying about managing the drivers after what happened in Abu Dhabi, there is the chance he might go again," Hill said.
The Brit warned that ultimately, the right balance needs to be struck between Mercedes requirements and Hamilton's sense of freedom.
"Like we saw at McLaren with Ron Dennis and his controlling way and Lewis saying: ‘I don’t want this. I’m out.’ That’s the fine line."