Lewis Hamilton contract: Mercedes chief Toto Wolff sets late deadline for new F1 deal

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Lewis Hamilton contract: Mercedes chief Toto Wolff sets late deadline for new F1 deal

Lewis Hamilton’s future with Mercedes is the biggest talking point within Formula One at present. And Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff has set a new

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Lewis Hamilton’s future with Mercedes is the biggest talking point within Formula One at present. And Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff has set a new deadline for a new contract to be signed. The Brit was in outstanding form in 2020, winning the F1 Drivers’ Championship for a seventh time.

Hamilton has outlined his desire to stay with Mercedes, despite previously holding talks with Ferrari over a blockbuster move.

But, two months after his latest F1 Drivers’ Championship triumph, the 36-year-old’s future is still up in the air.

Hamilton is the biggest asset within the sport but with Mercedes battling to balance the books amid the coronavirus crisis, negotiations have been tough.

And, now, Wolff has set a fresh deadline for a new contract to be signed, having previously said a deal needed to be complete before testing at the start of March.

“We have to sign something at some point before Bahrain at the latest,” he told Grandpx.news.

Wolff was speaking from Witzbuhel, having spent the last 10 days in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus.

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And he’s insisted he feels fine, saying: “No symptoms, thankfully.

“We’re out of quarantine now.”

Hamilton has been with Mercedes ever since joining from McLaren in 2013 – and has dominated F1 in the time since that move.

He’s won the Championship every year since barring 2016, when German driver Nico Rosberg reigned supreme.

And what ultimately happens with his future remains to be seen, with the prospect of Hamilton potentially taking a sabbatical looking increasingly likely.

Hamilton took to social media last to explain that there are still ‘many moving parts’ in contract talks.

He said: ”Hey World, I haven’t been on here for a while. I’m in the mountains training everyday, getting my mind and body right.

“I’m hiking to the top of the mountain every morning. Three of those hikes I cross country ski once I get to the top which is at 3400m, killer.

“I love altitude training, there is less oxygen high up so working out is much harder than at sea level, just walking up the stairs you feel it at 2000m.

“Normal when I finish training here and return to sea level running is such a breeze. I’m trying to find the right balance in cardio and strength building.

“On top of that, lots of work ongoing in the background. Many moving parts but just checking in to let you know I’m doing good, I’m healthy and mentally strong right now in my bubble.

“I hope you are staying as positive as you can with all that is still going on. Keep your head up.

“I can’t wait to see you all again at some stage soon. Sending you love and light #teamlh.”

Meanwhile, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner thinks Max Verstappen is the best F1 driver out there at present – and thinks George Russell has proved his point.

“Yes, I think he is the best, and George Russell’s performance at Mercedes confirmed that for me,” he said.

He then added: “Max and Lewis stand out for me, but although we should definitely not be blind to what Hamilton has achieved, he does have a good package at his disposal.

“That while Max has to get more out of his car.

“At Mercedes, a Williams driver can qualify himself directly on the front row and Russell almost won the race.

“However, if at Red Bull someone had to get into Verstappen’s car, for example if Max had corona, nobody would reach his level.

“His qualifying performances are of an exceptional level and his race craft is excellent, just like his tyre management.

“Max has become better at ‘reading’ the race, giving feedback to the team, but also dealing with disappointment, for example. He has matured very much in those areas.”



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