Negotiations between world champion Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have come to a halt and it all has to do with Max Verstappen.
Earlier this month, Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Hamilton had agreed a new two-year deal with Mercedes.
The contract only needed to be signed.
That report came two weeks after Verstappen signed a new long-term deal that will keep him at Red Bull until the end of 2023. However, it is now being claimed that Hamilton is no longer signing that first contract, instead he is holding out for more.
According to Formula 1’s rumour mill, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff was lining up Verstappen as Hamilton’s replacement should the Brit opt to swap Mercedes silver for Ferrari red. But with Verstappen deciding to stick with Red Bull, Wolff is out of options for a star driver.
That has put the power back in Hamilton’s pocket.
Four, not two
Spanish daily Marca says, according to Corriere dello Sport, that Hamilton not only wants more money from Mercedes, he also wants four years and not two.
The publication claims the six-time World Champion is asking for a salary of ’55 million Euros’ (R885-million, est.), which is up on the 42 million Euros (R676-million, est.) he currently receives.
He also wants four years as this deal is likely to be the 35-year-old’s last in F1.
Mercedes reportedly also have post-racing demands as they want Hamilton to be ‘the ambassador of Mercedes’.
Hamilton and Mercedes still have plenty of time in which to iron out any issues as Ferrari have made it clear they won’t commit to Sebastian Vettel until midway through 2020. And if they don’t re-sign the German, Hamilton could yet swap to Ferrari.