Lewis Hamilton on difficult season for Mercedes in November
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Lewis Hamilton could be replaced at Mercedes by fellow Briton Lando Norris, according to Karun Chandhok. The Sky Sports F1 host revealed Norris could be Mercedes “number one pick” and may take Hamilton’s seat once the seven-time champion retires from F1.
Hamilton’s F1 future continues to be under scrutiny after a contract extension has yet to be signed. As things stand, Hamilton’s deal will expire at the end of 2023 meaning the Silver Arrows could be searching for a replacement earlier than planned.
Speaking to Autosport, Chandhok said “The reality is I can’t see him going to Red Bull to be a number two to Max, Ferrari have their two drivers locked out. So his options are to go to Mercedes when Lewis Hamilton stops because George [Russell] isn’t going anywhere.
“He can stay at McLaren I think until that happens basically. I think McLaren can safely hold onto him until that happens. But, let’s say we get to the end of this year and Lewis suddenly decides ‘I’ve had enough, I’m gone’.
“Then I feel like it’s going to be quite a complicated process because no doubt about it Lando has got to the number one pick, he’s got to Mercedes’ number one pick to replace Lewis.” Norris has starred at McLaren since his debut back in 2019 due to his consistency behind the wheel.
He beat experienced team-mate Daniel Ricciardo a staggering 17 times last season while also picking up a podium in Imola despite the team’s performance issues. The 23-year-old even received praise from Hamilton himself after a series of impressive drives.
The Mercedes driver branded Norris as a “great driver” when battling the youngster at the 2021 Austrian Grand Prix.
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He also celebrated Norris’ achievements after pipping him at the 2021 Russian Grand Prix after a late rain shower denied the McLaren starlet his first victory. Meanwhile, details of Hamilton’s contract negotiations have been few and far between in a major blow to the 38-year-old.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff suggested terms would be agreed over the winter break which hasn’t materialised. Hamilton recently suggested talks had not even begun, raising fears that negotiations could have stalled.
But, Wolff stressed there was “no firm deadline” as he doubled down on his confidence in securing an agreement. He said: “Well, the job list is pretty long in what is needed to be done. But certainly, Lewis’ contract is one of the topics that we will tackle over the winter. But there is no firm deadline.
“Lewis is part of the team and the team is part of Lewis. There is no reason to not continue.”
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