The win for Mercedes Lewis Hamilton in Spain has definitely increased the conjecture in the paddock regarding his unsigned future with Mercedes.
Mercedes Motorsport Director Toto Wolff stressed in Barcelona that nothing has changed: “We do not want to lose him, he does not want to drive for any other racing team. Everything is fine”
It’s fair to say that after Australia, the focus of the media has been on Mercedes lack of performance against Ferrari but last weekend’s result for the German outfit has gotten tongues wagging yet again about Hamilton’s future.
Non executive chairman Niki Lauda makes it clear that the deal is basically done admitting that “We have no time pressure. It will happen to 110 percent. We agree on everything, but whether he signs now or in three weeks, that does not matter,” said Lauda on Sunday.
The second seat is less clear however.
“Valtteri Bottas does a very good job,” says Lauda, but there are others who are available to fill the seat and speculation placed Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo firmly after his outstanding race in China.
“If you look at Daniel objectively, he is doing really well. Rosberg-like in fact.
“And Daniel is definitely one of the drivers we’ll take a closer look at. But loyalty comes first, only then will we look beyond our own ranks. Valtteri is reliable.”
And what about Verstappen? Would Lauda oblige the Dutchman if he were theoretically available (he has a contract by 2020)?Lauda: Verstappen needs less 'arrogance' #TJ13 #F1 Click To Tweet
“Logic and reason do not seem to get a grip on this guy. Usually you learn from your mistakes. [Max] only makes more. Hr also seems to be down to intelligence, to me, ” said Lauda after the race in China.
“First of all, I have to give credit to Max too. Basically, the guy is the discovery of the century. Because of his speed, how he can handle a car, at just 20 years of age… But; If he wants to become world champion, he has to be careful. With his performance this year, he will never be world champion, “said Lauda.
The three-time World Champion continues: “He is the best discovery ever made in F1 recently. But I wonder why he takes so long to actually use his head. He should be thinking: One millimeter less and I win, instead of crashing me and my teammate out. I don’t understand why he doesn’t think that way.
He has to start getting off his “I’ll beat all” arrogance a bit. “