Lewis Hamilton may be copying Michael Schumacher in making George Russell contract demand

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Lewis Hamilton has been tipped to demand a clause in any new contract giving him control over who his team-mate at Mercedes could be in the future. The emergence of George Russell has seen the Williams star linked with replacing Valtteri Bottas for 2022.

Hamilton has yet to sign a new deal at Mercedes after becoming a seven-time world champion last season.

He is now level with the legendary Michael Schumacher and can surpass the German in 2021 if and when he signs a new deal.

Mercedes told Express Sport earlier in January contract talks with Hamilton were going well, and that news the 36-year-old had four demands they couldn’t agree on were wrong.

Following that, Italian journalist Alessandro Gargantini, writer for Autosprint, claimed the world champion could be demanding the inclusion of a clause on who his team-mate will be in the future.

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He thinks Russell could be a sticking point in negotiations, saying: “It would not surprise us if Hamilton wants to play an active role in the choice of the second driver after 2021.”

If Hamilton is demanding a say it would certainly be reminiscent to Schumacher during his time at Ferrari.

The German was the talisman at the team and never had a team-mate that was on his level.

Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa were all well below the levels of Schumacher at the Italian team.

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The seven-time champion always made sure he was the man leading the team and limited the amount of competition he would face.

It essentially meant Ferrari would always back Schumacher and he would be the man winning races and titles.

Hamilton could be doing something similar in demanding a say over who is alongside him at Mercedes.

After beating Valtteri Bottas this year by over 100 points you can’t blame him.

Russell stepping into Mercedes when Hamilton tested positive for coronavirus and impressing may be a risk the 36-year-old wants to avoid.

Having said that Hamilton is the ultimate competitor and would surely back himself to beat the young Brit.

It remains to be seen but the F1 world champion is a shrewd negotiator and isn’t rushing to renew terms despite the season fast approaching.

The Bahrain Grand Prix kicks things off on Sunday, March 28.

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