Negotiations between Mercedes and Hamilton have started

The seven-time world champion also sings the praises of his current teammate Valtteri Bottas. 

Published on 24/06/2021 à 17:14

Julien BILLIOTTE

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Negotiations between Mercedes and Hamilton have started

Could Mercedes keep its two current starters in 2022?

Lewis Hamilton revealed this Thursday in Austria that he had started discussions around his future with Mercedes

The seven-time world champion's current contract expires at the end of the year, after only signing a one-year extension late last February. 

Anxious not to relive a scenario similar to that of last year where negotiations dragged on for months, Hamilton and his team principal Toto wolff have often repeated that they want to start the process much earlier this year. 

Asked about the subject ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix (June 25-27), Hamilton responded in the affirmative, albeit succinctly. “ We have started the discussions, there is not much else to report except that things are positive ", Hamilton told the Red Bull ring. 

The Briton is not the only Mercedes driver at the end of his contract this season since his teammate Valtteri Bottas is also without a seat for the moment beyond the current year. 

  • Hamilton votes for Bottas

The Finn's situation seems much more precarious than that of Hamilton in view of a first third of the 2021 campaign marked by up-and-down performances. 

But more than Bottas' discreet results, we have the impression that there is more and more frying on the line with Mercedes. This is further evidenced by his outburst on the radio during the last French GP to complain sharply about his strategy.

Wolff declared to Le Castellet that he appreciated Bottas' direct kick, seeing it as a sign of a competitor who does not mince his words. 

« I always try to be direct and I'm glad he liked this approach, even if I wasn't happy with the situation obviously, commented Bottas in Austria. Emotions are part of the race. It's hard to describe your feelings when you're behind the wheel. 

We're not in the tea room, we're in an elite sport. I want to do well, I want the team to shine, so there are emotions, including for the Finn that I am ». 

Bottas refuted any unease with Mercedes, calling the external impression “ totally wrong ". " We have a good relationship, there is no problem, hammered the 31-year-old driver, accustomed to one-year extensions since his arrival at Mercedes in 2017. We have always been direct and honest between us ». 

While the pilot Williams George Russell is naturally eyeing Bottas's seat, the latter has received strong support in the person of Hamilton.

« Valtteri is my current teammate and we have both had ups and downs in our careers, commented the Briton when asked about his preference for his possible garage neighbor in 2022. I know he makes a fantastic sidekick and I don't fundamentally think that needs to change. ». 

Hamilton also refused to comment on a potential arrival of Russell at his side. Could this be a sticking point in the discussions recently started with Mercedes? 

Negotiations are like construction, we know when it starts...

Julien BILLIOTTE

AUTOhebdo deputy editor-in-chief. The feather dipped in gall.

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