Lewis Hamilton contract: Mercedes unable to grant F1 star’s wish amid George Russell talk
Lewis Hamilton compared to Schumacher by David Coulthard
Lewis Hamilton’s contract saga has rumbled on into 2021 – despite the British star stating he wanted a resolution by Christmas. The seven-time world champion is now technically a free agent with his 2020 deal with Mercedes having expired and an extension yet to be confirmed ahead of next season.
Hamilton, 36, previously held talks with Ferrari which are now seemingly dead in the water and he has made no secret of the fact he wants to stay at Mercedes.
The team are also keen to tie down their star driver, but a deal has not yet been struck with claims of a stand-off over some of Hamilton’s demands.
And the fact Hamilton is yet to sign on the dotted line shows Mercedes have been unable to grant him his wish of striking a deal by Christmas with a new deadline now set for the end of February before pre-season testing in March.
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“Hopefully over the next couple of weeks,” said Hamilton when asked earlier in December when he would sit down with Wolff and then announce the new deal.
“I would love…we would love to get it done before Christmas, I think. I plan to be here next year, I want to be here next year.
“As a team, we have more to do together and more to achieve both in the sport but even more outside the sport.
“So I hope we can begin this week, discussions, and hopefully get it tied up before Christmas.”
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George Russell has added a new element to the conversation, with the youg driver being seen as a future Mercedes star after his impressive display stepping in for Hamilton late in the season.
Hamilton is said to be demanding a four-year deal worth $200million with Mercedes’ parent company Daimler reportedly keen not to commit to four years, according to Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport.
With Hamilton turning 36 this month, the performances of Russell, 22, have seemingly had an impact on their thoughts for the future.
But team principal Totto Wolff, who himself has recently agreed a new deal, insists they are planning to keep 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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