Lewis Hamilton’s current contract with Mercedes is set to expire at the end of the 2023 season, leading to intense speculation about his future with the team.
Lewis Hamilton’s illustrious career at Mercedes has been marked by remarkable success. However, in recent seasons, there have been indications of a decline in his performance by the driver and certainly by the team.
As Hamilton enters his mid-thirties, the physical and mental demands of Formula 1 can take a toll. Although his skill and natural talent remain undoubted, the relentless nature of the sport and the emergence of younger, hungry talents could impact his ability to maintain peak performance over an entire season. Enter George Russell.
The contract negotiations between Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have been a topic of speculation in the Formula 1 world for quite some time.
The ongoing saga has been the focus of discussion since the 2022 US Grand Prix. Hamilton initially hinted at a multi-year deal, suggesting the possibility of a five-year arrangement. However, the negotiations have been prolonged, and there is still no resolution in sight. Mercedes’ team boss, Toto Wolff, expressed optimism about reaching an agreement, comparing the process to a wrestling match that would end with a positive outcome.
Prepare yourselves for the first ever team principal special helmet video! 😍
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Big numbers involved
Despite the positive outlook, the contract talks between Hamilton and Mercedes have continued for six months without any concrete developments. In February, there were reports suggesting a potential deal, including a £22 million bonus for winning the world title and a ten-year contract as a Mercedes Ambassador worth £220 million. However, it seems that the numbers presented by Hamilton’s management team do not align with Wolff’s perspective.
Recently, Wolff admitted his discomfort in discussing numbers with Hamilton due to their long-standing friendship. This misalignment in expectations may be one of the reasons behind the prolonged negotiations. The Sun newspaper reported that an insider from Mercedes disclosed that the team had offered Hamilton a one-year contract extension, while Hamilton himself is hoping for a longer commitment.
As the discussions continue, the finalisation of Hamilton’s new contract with Mercedes hinges on two sticking points. The duration of the contract appears to be a point of contention, with Hamilton desiring more than the one-year extension offered by the team. The negotiations have entered a critical phase, with Wolff expressing his hope for a resolution before the Canadian Grand Prix.
Former F1 driver says he knows who should replace Hamilton
Former F1 driver and TV pundit Johnny Herbert has weighed in on the situation. According to Herbert, if Hamilton were to leave Mercedes at the end of the year, the team would not have to worry about finding a successor because they already have the perfect replacement within their ranks.
While the question of when Hamilton will extend his contract lingers, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff and Hamilton himself have repeatedly reassured everyone that an agreement is imminent.
However, as the season progresses, the wait continues, leaving some to wonder if Mercedes needs to start considering potential replacements. Speculation has pointed towards Charles Leclerc as a potential candidate if Hamilton were to join Ferrari. But Herbert believes that Mercedes doesn’t need to look beyond their current lineup.
Herbert names successor
Herbert highlights George Russell as the ideal replacement for Hamilton. He praises Russell’s skills and performance, noting that last year, Russell outperformed Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, finishing fourth with 275 points compared to Hamilton’s sixth-place finish with 240 points. According to Herbert, Russell is the future of Mercedes and is more than capable of fulfilling the team’s needs.
“Russell is the future, whatever we think of Hamilton, who we know is still good enough to win races,” Herbert stated. He believes that Russell has the potential to excel and be a valuable asset to Mercedes in the coming years.
In a recent poll conducted by sport.de, 57 percent of the participants believed that Russell would outperform Hamilton in the intra-team battle at Mercedes this year, while 43 percent sided with Hamilton. As of now, Russell is in fifth place in the drivers’ standings with 65 points, trailing Hamilton by twelve points, who currently holds fourth place.
Contract still up in the air at Canada
As the Canadian Grand Prix weekend began, Hamilton chose not to address any questions regarding his future, leaving fans and the media eagerly awaiting news of his contract extension.
While the contract negotiations between Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes continue, Johnny Herbert believes that Mercedes already has the perfect replacement for the record champion in George Russell.
With Russell’s impressive performances and potential, Herbert is confident that he can fulfill Mercedes’ needs and be a key asset to the team in the future. As fans eagerly await news of Hamilton’s contract extension, the possibility of Russell stepping into his shoes adds an exciting element to the Formula 1 landscape.