Prior to the start of the 2021 F1 season, the hot topic of discussion was whether Sir Lewis Hamilton would be retained by Mercedes and sign a new contract. Incredibly, due to the fact that it took so long for Hamilton to sign a contract with Mercedes to race in 2021, there were some people who thought the contract would never come. Now, having won his third race of the 2021 season, it appears that Hamilton and Mercedes want to avoid such uncertainty this year. So much so, that Sir Lewis Hamilton has indicated that he expects a new contract to be sorted during the summer break.
Formula One holds its three-week summer break between the Hungarian Grand Prix and the Belgian Grand Prix. This three week time period in August appears to be when Sir Lewis Hamilton, currently on a one-year contract, expects to sign a contract extension. The 36-year-old Briton (and Knight of the Realm) is in the form of his life. During such an intense title battle with Max Verstappen it makes sense for him to minimize any off track distractions:
"We don't want to rush anything but I think we have to be sensible and start conversations," Hamilton said after winning the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.
"They're very complex, so hopefully soon we can start, as long as it doesn't interfere with the actual job."
Sir Lewis Hamilton admitted that it had been frustrating having contract talks drag out for so long, with a one-year contract eventually signed in February:
"We never want to be in the position that we were in in January, in February," he said.
"It ruined my whole winter and I'm sure it wasn't helpful for Toto's, in terms of being out to be off and relaxed, so it felt like we didn't really have much of a break. 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.”
These were not the first remarks from Sir Lewis Hamilton about staying beyond 2021 in F1 seeing how he revealed during the press conference ahead of the Portuguese GP. "I plan to be here next year," Nevertheless, at that time when pressed further on whether the remark was a firm plan to remain in F1, Hamilton quipped:
"Well, the thing is, I'm pretty spontaneous…So it could always change!
"But I don't know, I think we are enjoying this battle that we have, it's been more exciting. It's been even more of a challenge. I continue to love working with this team.”
Such positive comments are not only being heard from Hamilton’s team seeing how just over a week ago, also at the Portuguese Grand Prix, Mercedes hinted at a similar desire.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team Boss Toto Wolff indicated he would prefer to agree a new contract with his talismanic driver sooner rather than later:
“We learned our lessons that we wouldn’t leave it to the Christmas holidays,” Wolff said. “We are in a very good place and our relationship is growing stronger every year and it’s about time to really give it a little nudge and start to speak and this is what we are going to do soon.”
Shortly after exiting his Mercedes W12, having won his 98th Grand Prix in Spain on Sunday, a jubilant Sir Lewis Hamilton told the media and crowd in the grandstand:
“What a day! It was a remarkable job by the whole team again this weekend and it’s so good to see fans back here. I even saw a few British flags in the crowd and I’ve really missed that! I feel great, like I could do that all over again, all the training is clearly paying off!”
Meanwhile, Sir Lewis Hamilton is seeking a record-breaking 8th Drivers’ World Championship in F1 and his on track battle with Max Verstappen has been a ratings hit. Hamilton has had his best start to a Formula One season and is clearly still relishing competing in the pinnacle of motorsport. This latest announcement shows the Briton intends to be around for a while longer to come and F1 will be all the stronger due to it.