Lewis Hamilton contract demands blocked by Mercedes owners with George Russell in mind
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Lewis Hamilton has yet to sign on the dotted line for Mercedes but is expected to stay with the team for the 2021 season as he looks to become an eight-time world champion. Hamilton dominated this year, destroying the rest of the field to match Michael Schumacher.
Negotiations are ongoing with the 35-year-old said to be demanding a four-year contract worth $200million.
Mercedes parent company Daimler reportedly blocked the deal in November with concerns.
They would rather not commit to four years with Hamilton, according to Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport.
Hamilton turns 36 in January and Mercedes are watching the progress of George Russell closely.
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The 22-year-old stood in for the world champion at the Sakhir Grand Prix when he tested positive for coronavirus.
Russell was on course to win the race on two occasions but for a calamitous pit stop from Mercedes.
The Williams star then suffered a puncture to drop him right down the field.
Russell was still able to recover to ninth and picked up the fastest lap in the race, outshining Valtteri Bottas throughout the weekend.
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A new deadline has now been set for the contact talks to be completed at the end of February before pre-season testing in March.
Mercedes will look to dominate again before a raft of major regulation changes in 2022 designed to level the field.
Toto Wolff has signed a new contract at the Silver Arrows and wants to continue with Hamilton.
“From my point of view, we had such a successful run at championships in the past seven years, that there is no reason not to continue,” Wolff said when asked about his team’s relationship with Hamilton.
“He [Hamilton] is on the top of his game and he will be for a while. And that’s why continuing together is a no brainer.
“If you refer to why haven’t we got a signed contract? The reason is simple. We always prioritised about getting this championship done, and not being distracted by sometimes difficult discussions, as is the nature of negotiation. But then COVID struck.
“So it has delayed us a little bit, but we are not worried in eventually getting it done.”
“We are putting no special date to it, because we don’t want to be put under pressure from you guys [the media] while it’s not signed yet. So sooner or later, it needs to be done. At the latest before we go testing.”
The Australian Grand Prix kicks off the 2021 season on Sunday, March 21.
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