Lewis Hamilton wants to finalize his future with Mercedes by the summer break in order to have clarity and avoid the uncertainty of last winter.
Mercedes and Hamilton only agreed a one-year contract in February, with the seven-time world champion saying he didn’t want to commit to anything longer at that point. However, after winning the Spanish Grand Prix he admitted the distraction during the off-season was not good for both sides and he’d like to have a new deal situated by the end of the Hungarian GP weekend on August 1.
“There’s still some life in this old dog!” Hamilton said. “I would say I’m more conscious than ever about my body, about my training regime. I’ve been training myself for a long time now but constantly growing and learning how to look after, naturally, the vessel that I’m given and feeling great.
“Contract-wise? Yeah, we never want to be in the position that we were in in January, in February. It ruined my whole winter and I’m sure it wasn’t helpful for Toto (Wolff, Mercedes team principal), in terms of being able to be off and relaxed, so it felt like we didn’t really have much of a break.
“I think we have to be sensible. Naturally, we don’t have to rush anything but I think we have to be sensible and start conversations. They’re very complex. It’s never a super simple procedure, so hopefully soon we can start, as long as it doesn’t interfere the actual job. We still have 19 races to do but it would be great to get something in place before the break so then we could, again, be in that break and have a clear picture of the future.”
A+ Game✔️ https://t.co/pYKNSmWmRe
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) May 9, 2021
If Hamilton felt the need to strengthen his position for negotiations then his timing couldn’t be better as Sunday’s victory ensured his best start to a Formula 1 season in his career, something Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin is surprised by.
“It does (surprise) a bit… he’s doing a good job isn’t he?” Shovlin said. “To be honest, in Bahrain winter testing, what you could see with Lewis was that he realized that he and the team were going to have to be absolutely perfect to be able to go out there and win races, and you also realized that one bad test wasn’t an indication to him that this would be a championship that he’s not in the running for.
“It surprises me that stat because you think this is the least competitive margin that we’ve had for a number of years but what I would say is he has arrived in a frame of mind that is just about maximizing every little opportunity – be it on track, be it in the set-up, be it in how we approach the weekend and he brought that to Bahrain and we’ve not seen it wain at all since.”