Max Verstappen ‘turned down Mercedes’ leaving Lewis Hamilton as only option – Schumacher

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Lewis Hamilton signing a new two-year contract at Mercedes indicated that Max Verstappen turned them down, according to Ralf Schumacher. The Briton has extended his stay at the Silver Arrows until the end of 2023.

Hamilton and Verstappen are fighting for the title this season as Red Bull look to end the dominance of Mercedes.

The 36-year-old won the British Grand Prix last time out after colliding with his rival to reduce the deficit to just eight points in the Drivers’ Championship.

Mercedes also closed the gap on Red Bull who failed to score a single point at Silverstone.

Schumacher has a theory on Hamilton signing a new deal for his current team though and believes they really wanted Verstappen.

“For me, that extension mainly means that Max has turned down Mercedes,” Schumacher told Sport Bild.

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“I think Mercedes had put all their hopes on capturing Max for that cockpit, in order to fully secure their future.

“That idea is now gone, and in my eyes Lewis was the only alternative.”

Schumacher gave his verdict on the title race so far and is curious to see if Mercedes can have a stronger second half of the season.

He added: “Now I’m curious if Mercedes can turn it around, because Red Bull still has a lot behind them, and certainly hasn’t shown everything yet.

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“It will really come down to a duel between Hamilton and Verstappen.

“I hope nobody gets hurt.

“Hamilton and Verstappen remind me more and more of Senna and Prost, the way they treated each other.”

There have been suggestions Red Bull could appeal the 10-second time penalty given to Hamilton at Silverstone as they don’t feel it is severe enough.

“There are rights that are available to us, but I think unfortunately the result…the stewards are pretty set in their decision,” said Horner.

“I think it will be meaningless to take things further, but we’ll look at it. We’ll talk it through shortly but that would be my initial reaction.”

Yet, when asked if he had any concerns, Wolff told Autosport: “This is Formula 1. None of that worries me.”

F1 returns with the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, August 1.

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