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Lewis Hamilton contract speculation rises with Damon Hill sharing the theory | F1 | sports

Formula 1 legend Damon Hill has suggested that Lewis Hamilton could be the one to play hardball with Mercedes after his contract expires, with no decision made about the veteran’s future. Hamilton, 38, will start his 17th season at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, but his plans have yet to be confirmed beyond the end of this year.

The former Williams Hill star – who was crowned F1 world champion in 1996 – has hinted the delay may have been a calculated ploy by Hamilton. Both he and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff have proposed another extension in the near future, but there will be inevitable questions about why there is no concrete plan yet.

Hamilton tied Michael Schumacher’s record-breaking record of seven world titles when he won his fourth consecutive title in 2020, but Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is the current king after winning back-to-back championships. While many athletes consider their mid-30s a good time to retire, Hill believes Hamilton isn’t under such pressure to hang up his helmet anytime soon.

The 62-year-old wrote to The Telegraph: “At 38, Lewis is clearly aging in terms of years, but remains as fast as ever.” And as appropriate. With the way drivers take care of themselves these days, and power steering in cars, I don’t think there’s any physical reason he couldn’t keep driving into his forties if he had the drive to do so. Fernando Alonso is living proof of that.

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The question is, what keeps him here? Is it just about getting the eighth title? Would he retire if he did? Or because he wants to continue racing for her love? Personally, I cannot see Lewis driving in circles trying to snatch podium positions, as Fernando had to quit.”

As for the uncertainty over his commitment, Hill suggested Hamilton is biding his time to see how Mercedes fares in 2023 before making a call on any contract. “If they start at 2,023 miles off the pace, maybe Lewis will be less interested in signing a new long-term deal,” the F1 icon mused.

However, Hill considered both sides as he followed up that Hamilton’s high salary may have persuaded Mercedes to hold off on any extension. The Silver Arrows have a very promising talent in 25-year-old George Russell, while Hill writes that Hamilton “gives Mercedes a lot, but it also costs them a lot”.

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In fact, much of motorsport agrees that Hamilton should indeed hold the record for most world championships given the controversial manner in which Verstappen won his first title in the 2021 Grand Prix that year, where former race director Michael Massi’s decisions paved the way. The way for Verstappen to overtake Hamilton at the death.

In the wake of that disappointment and the nightmare 2022 season that followed, one could forgive Hamilton for seeing his passion for the sport somewhat dented. A faster start to 2023 could be crucial if the Hall of Famer is to put pen to paper this year, as the next few months become a crucial crossroads period for him and Mercedes.


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