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Mercedes stay in F1: What's next for Hamilton?

Mercedes stay in F1: What's next for Hamilton?

05-02-2020 13:02
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Nicolás Quarles van Ufford

With Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff confirming the team will stay in Formula 1 for at least 2021, it raises several questions, one of which is about their drivers next year. What will happen to Valtteri Bottas, and more importantly, Lewis Hamilton?

Contract talks to start soon

Wolff ended the rumours of Hamilton having incredibly high salary demands as the Austrian simply said they hadn't spoken on the subject yet. Hamilton himself had already echoed the same message on his own Instagram recently, with Wolff adding they both took December and January off to recharge batteries. Later this month, when the F1 season gets underway in Barcelona at winter testing, the two will start a dialogue about the six-time champion's contract.

Of those six championships, Hamilton has won five at Mercedes and he has a chance to earn his seventh and equal Michael Schumacher's record this year. Even though he's the second oldest driver on the F1 grid behind Kimi Raikkonen, he has been in better form than ever, showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.

In his interview with Auto Motor und Sport, Wolff argued as long as Mercedes keep making the best car, they'll be able to attract all the best drivers. They'll find it difficult, however, to find a driver of Hamilton's pedigree. The safe route for both parties would be to extend the 35-year-old's contract, at least for 2021.

No room at other teams

Not only Hamilton's contract is up a the end of 2020, but so is Bottas' deal. The Brit's options beyond the Silver Arrows have slimmed down recently with both Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc signing long-term deals at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Ferrari respectively. It seems like a no-brainer to extend his deal at Mercedes at this point.

Verstappen and Leclerc probably do have some form of an escape clause in their respective deals if their car's performances are subpar. In that case, why would Hamilton go there, if the car is underperforming?

The fact is the man from Stevenage is very comfortable at Mercedes, beating Bottas every year while being the clear number one driver. Hamilton could switch teams and become a number one there but he'd probably have to take on a young, aggressive driver in the process. Would he still want that at this point in his career?

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