F1: Lewis Hamilton extends Mercedes contract
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Lewis Hamilton is coming towards the end of his “shelf life” and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted he is weighing up his options for the 2022 season. The Silver Arrows are expected to make a move for Williams star George Russell.
The 22-year-old stepped in for Hamilton at when he contracted coronavirus ahead of the Sakhir Grand Prix.
Russell thoroughly impressed and would have won the race had it not been for a horrific double-stacked pitstop and a late puncture.
There were rumours that Mercedes were considering offering Russell a drive should Hamilton not renew his contract this season.
But the seven-time world champion buried the speculation when he penned an 11-month extension last week.
However, the short-term deal raises even more question over what Wolff’s long-term plans are.
And the Austrian hinted that he could shake up his team at the end of the year after four years of a Hamilton-Valtteri Bottas partnership.
“It’s the third contract that we were discussing so it’s not that we needed to start from scratch,” Wolff said.
“But it’s an important contract because of the season and long term how we are going to position ourselves from 2022 onwards, and how is his thinking.
“We respect that a sports person has a shelf life and that you need to optimise the outcome whilst being active.”
Hamilton could pulled away from Michael Schumacher’s record by winning his eighth world title this year.
And that could also drive the Stevenage-born star to quit F1 altogether.
“I think this is very much Lewis’ decision,” added Wolff.
“As long as he enjoys racing, I think he is very capable of going longer.
“He develops as a driver, he looks after himself in terms of physical training and mental preparation, so I don’t think that, in terms of ability, that ends in 2021.
“But in the end, it is his decision.”
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