Lewis Hamilton contract: Mercedes labelled ‘deluded’ amid George Russell rumours

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Former F1 boss Eddie Jordan thinks Mercedes are “deluded” if they are trying to replace Lewis Hamilton with another driver amid links Williams star George Russell could be offered a big promotion.

Hamilton and Mercedes are locked in contract talks over a deal for the 2021 campaign.

It is thought the seven-time world champion is demanding his £40million-a-year salary remains the same, while the Silver Arrows are looking to cut costs.

In the unlikely event that talks completely break down, Mercedes could try to sign Russell from Williams.

The 22-year-old impressed when he stepped in for Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix last year and would have won the race had it not been for a late puncture.

However, Jordan thinks Mercedes would be making a big mistake if they do not keep hold of their No 1 man.

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“Lewis Hamilton is the jewel in the crown,” Jordan told This Sporting Life podcast. “He’s the one every TV station wants to interview.

“Mercedes are probably saying a lot of this is to do with the car and we’ve given him an outstanding chance to be world champion because he has the best car. That’s not in dispute.

“However, if they think they can replace Lewis Hamilton with another driver and have the same element of success then I think they are deluded.

“And one thing’s for sure Mercedes and (team boss) Toto Wolf will not be easily deluded. He’s a very smart guy. He knows exactly the value of Lewis Hamilton and I think they will sit down and come to a good solution because the world of F1 needs Lewis Hamilton in it.”

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Hamilton is expected to win his eighth world title this year and Jordan has no doubt that the 36-year-old will reign supreme.

“The sport is in a difficult situation because no-one can put their finger on Mercedes,” Jordan told BBC Scotland.

“They do it better than anybody else.

“Racing Point won a race last year, that was amazing from Sergio Perez, and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) won the last race but that shouldn’t confuse people into thinking it will be much more open.

“Mercedes have the best people and the best engine, so how can they not win the championship? That’s a problem for me.

“It’s difficult to find the right sponsorship and you’re just not going to compete with that.”

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