Fresh ‘doubt’ over Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes contract delay rumbles on

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes garage. Britain July 2023

Seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes garage. Britain July 2023

13-time F1 race winner David Coulthard believes the delay to Lewis Hamilton signing a new Mercedes deal comes from hesitation as the team remain far away from the conversation for victories.

Hamilton first joined forces with the Mercedes team back in 2013, and what followed was a record-breaking run of dominance for this fearsome partnership.

Between 2014-21, Mercedes would win all eight Constructors’ titles on offer, while Hamilton claimed six Drivers’ Championship titles to place his name alongside Michael Schumacher as the only seven-time champs in F1 history.

Lewis Hamilton still without new Mercedes deal

More recent times though have been tough for Hamilton and Mercedes, with F1 2023 marking the second season in a row where team and driver are out of contention for victories, with Red Bull on a run of 11 victories in a row, 10 of those coming to start the F1 2023 campaign with an undefeated record.

Hamilton meanwhile has not tasted victory in Formula 1 since the penultimate round of the 2021 campaign.

And now into the final six months of his current Mercedes contract, despite verbally committing himself to the team, Hamilton is yet to sign on the dotted line despite he and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff having said confirmation was close on several occasions.

Coulthard though feels the fact that an announcement is still absent shows there is another layer to this situation, which he believes is doubt from Hamilton over the challenger that Mercedes will be able to offer him as he searches for that record-breaking eighth World title.

The team took a step forward in Spain and Canada after the introduction of a major upgrade package for the W14, but a new front wing bolted on for Silverstone did not bring the next step expected, with McLaren emerging as the closest rivals to Red Bull.

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Put to him on Channel 4 that it is “strange times” at Mercedes after their momentum came to a sudden halt, Coulthard replied: “This is leading us into a situation where we don’t actually have confirmation of Lewis continuing in the sport as well.

“We keep hearing it’s going to be sorted, but why isn’t it? It’s not like they need to get to know each other. They’ve won multiple World Championships together.

“So, I think it shows that he’s just not quite settled in his mind as to, the upgrades are coming, they’re maybe making a little step forward, but they need to take a leap forward to be able to challenge for victories.”

Hamilton, an eight-time British GP victor, had the chance to re-write history again at Silverstone with a ninth win which has never been achieved by a Formula 1 driver before at any one track.

He will though get another opportunity next time out, as he is also an eight-time winner at the Hungaroring, host of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

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