Alex Albon the victim as Lewis Hamilton shuts down Mercedes contract questions

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023

Alex Albon was left feeling like the awkward third wheel when Lewis Hamilton was keen to spread the attention during the pre-Italian Grand Prix press conference.

Understandably, Hamilton was a driver in demand on Monza media day ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, following confirmation of his new Mercedes deal.

All speculation on the seven-time World Champion’s future has now been put to rest after a Mercedes contract extension until the end of 2025 was announced.

Lewis Hamilton keen to share the questions

So, when Hamilton appeared alongside Alex Albon, Esteban Ocon, Oscar Piastri and Yuki Tsunoda for press conference duties, it was of little surprise to see Hamilton receiving the majority of the questions, before he called the reporters out on this trend.

“You have a bunch of others drivers here,” he pointed out.

“You should just tell us if you don’t have any questions for these guys, because it sucks them having to sit here, but they should ask these guys a question.”

With that then, the reporter moved on to Albon for a question, who knowing that he was of course not the driver they wanted to speak to, replied: “It doesn’t feel the same if it’s a push along!” recommends

The four drivers out of contract at the end of the F1 2023 season

F1 driver contracts: What is the current contract status of every driver on the 2023 grid?

Hamilton did though give a detailed response to the topic of his new contract, stating his full belief that whether it is in F1 2024 or the season after, Mercedes will return to the Red Bull fight, having been absent from the title scene since 2021.

Asked to reveal when exactly he put pen to paper on the contract extension, Hamilton responded: “Contract-wise, the stuff was finished last weekend.

“I’m not working towards next year thinking that it’s going to take another four years to get to where we need to be, but I’m aware that it does take time.

“Of course in my heart, I’m so hopeful that the decisions we are taking and the direction that we’re rolling towards is that which will put us in that target zone to be able to fight the [Red] Bulls and be close and be challenging for pole.

“But, if it’s not next year, we’ll continue to work through it. But in my heart, I truly believe that if it’s not next year, it’s the year after, we will be there.”

A P3 finish in the F1 2023 Drivers’ Championship is now the best which Hamilton realistically can target, the gap to Fernando Alonso currently holding that position standing at 12 points heading into the Italian Grand Prix.

Read next: Finally! Lewis Hamilton signs new Mercedes contract extension