Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Interlagos, 2018

Verstappen and others calling Mercedes about an F1 drive – Hamilton

2021 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton indicated Max Verstappen is among the drivers who are pursuing Mercedes over a chance to join them after next season.

Hamilton and team mate Valtteri Bottas will be out of contract at the end of the 2020 F1 season. Speaking after Verstappen at the FIA Gala in Paris, Hamilton indicated his Red Bull rival isn’t the only driver lobbying team principal Toto Wolff for a chance to join the world champions.

“It’s an interesting time because there’s a lot of people, a lot of drivers who are seeking positions everywhere,” he said. “Calls Toto gets from every driver including the one that was up here just recently asking to come, leave their team and come to where we are.

“Which is an understandable thing because everyone wants to win, and everyone wants to be part of a winning formula.”

However Hamilton said his upcoming contract talks with Mercedes aren’t a “stressful thing” for him. “There’s always a clear pathway of communication between myself and Toto, there’s never been any secrets, that won’t change.”

The six-times champion’s future has been a subject of speculation concerning a possible move to Ferrari. Hamilton said he hasn’t “put a lot of energy towards” deciding his future yet.

“I love the people that I work with so it’s really difficult to walk away from something that you love as much as I do. The team, the organisation all the way through to the bosses. I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13, so it’s really hard to imagine myself being anywhere else.

“What we’ve built over the last period that I’ve been there the last seven years – obviously Mercedes have been working for longer than that – is at the moment kind of dominant, it’s a strong force. I think it’s taken us time to build that, to build the strength and depth from within and have the consistency we’ve had. It’s not something that just comes overnight and other teams currently don’t have the elements that we have in place and it takes time to build those things.”

Hamilton has admitted his plans could also be affected by Wolff’s decision on his own future plans.

“Would it be the same without Toto? I don’t think so. But he’s got to do what’s right for him. And just like I don’t know what’s right for me when I have to make the decision, he has to make the right decision first for him and what’s best for him, his family, his future. Change is also sometimes a good thing.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Verstappen and others calling Mercedes about an F1 drive – Hamilton”

  1. Mercedes have won the last 6 WDC + WCC, I imagine everyone wants to drive for them.

    1. +1 Everyone except Vettel.

      1. @jureo

        After driving for Ferrari, it’s obvious Vettel wants to.. but why would Mercedes want to hire him?

  2. Hamilton and Toto seem to be forcing a hand here. Some form of strategy if you will.

    Nobody is calling Toto asking for a seat by surprise. They all made that call when Nico left, and everyone is available if Mercedes call. Max, Daniel, Seb, Lewis, Valtery are all out of contract next year. The only one I think Mercedes cannot put their hands on is Leclerc. Unless Ferrari trades him for Hamilton (assuming Lewis wants to go there).

    That speech goes side by side with someone “leaking” that Lewis talked to Ferrari’s top management twice. Toto and Lewis seems to be setting up the stage for someone to sing.

    1. Yeah and it will be Daimler. They will have the final say on if Mercedes continues as a full works team and I’m guessing Wolff & Hamilton want the question answered as soon as possible.

  3. Watching the interviews as broadcast I would say he was suggesting it was Alonso. Up here just recently would be an odd phrase to describe the last guy who was up there.

    1. I agree, lots of off season speculation in the last series of articles.
      Always a shame to see this happen to generate views.

      1. Odd open ended phrase to put the cat amoungst the piegions ;)

        Now the other teams are wonder to we put more bucks on the table to keep our main man.
        Do we trust our current driver with our future design ideas when he seems likely to jump ship.

        You could see this as gamemanship by Hamilton, creating uncertainty in the opposition’s camp,
        as every looks to guess at what he will do next.

  4. yep , I see this as Toto and Hamilton scouting for a joint package. If he walks i walk deal.

    If Toto left for other pastures and other opportunities, i think Hamilton might well be tempted to join another team.

    By then of course, Hamilton should have passed Schumachers record for grand prix wins, and should also have equalled his championship record. That might be enough for Hamilton. We’ll just after wait and see.

    All this assumes Ferrari, or for that matter Red bull, are any kind of match for Mercedes R&D.
    If the choice at that time came down to a championship winning package or more bucks, whose to say the guy with everthing wouldn’t choose more bucks.

    I’m guessing Ferrari would sooner have Hamilton driving for them, than against them. There’s no denighing Hamilton brought something special to Mercedes, who knows perhaps Ferrari seeks the same competent feedback ;)

    1. That’s exactly how I see it.

  5. In terms of the driver market this is a no-news. Of course everyone called him. In things like this I bet you want to let the others know you’re available. Being that Mercedes is by far the best team and will probably keep that positio in the shirt term, I bet everyone in the world including Jacques Villeneuve, called them.

  6. Lewis and Ves in one team? As late Niki Lauda said, we gonna need some extra chassis then.

  7. Curious how Mercedes will play this. Of course they want Verstappen for the future, and the risk is there that he will not be available should he sign up to a longer deal at Red Bull or Ferrari leaving them without a top driver if Hamilton leaves, but in the end I guess they know full well he will always be available.

    Trouble is that Hamilton will possibly play his contract extension / retirement decision as late as possible in order to mess up his opponents like we saw last time, so the dilemma for Mercedes will be to force Hamilton’s hand or loyally wait for his decision and risk losing Verstappen for the following year.

    I’m still sure that even without Lauda, who was practically Hamilton’s manager, Wolff will not put Verstappen in at the same time as Hamilton, but like I said, there might come a time at the end of Hamilton’s contract where he might be forced to chose between his loyalty to his driver or the team. Will be interesting.

    1. The last thing Mercedes needs is a return to their old ways, eg it’s squabbles between rival garages, as we saw with Nico Rosberg. All that wasted energy was only resolved when Nico retired. Its an old fashion idea of competition within the team which does no one any good.

      see Ferrari where new blood should have brought out the best in Vettel, instead its just lead to more of the worst.

      1. you are soy

  8. Silly Season moves up a gear is all !!

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