Sir Lewis Hamilton finally signed a new deal with Mercedes this week but, according to Robert Doornbos, it was not the deal he wanted.
Seven-time World Champion Hamilton has been the subject of a media circus in the past few months as his contract saga with the Silver Arrows went on for far longer than many expected.
It was always likely to happen though, and the deal was eventually struck and announced on Monday, with the 36-year-old signing a one-year contract.
There have been many suggestions as to why it took so long for a deal to be agreed, such as Hamilton bargaining for more money and demanding that he has choice over his team-mate, though those claims have been rubbished by Mercedes principal Toto Wolff.
Nevertheless, former Minardi and Red Bull driver Doornbos is not convinced that the signed deal is what Hamilton wanted.
As quoted by Motorsport.com, he said: “Both sides have had to compromise anyway. I think Mercedes ultimately held their ground and Hamilton didn’t get everything he wanted. I think Hamilton wanted to sign for a longer period of time and had to compromise on that point.”
💬 "Our team has achieved incredible things together and we look forward to building on our success even further, while continuously looking to improve, both on and off the track." – @LewisHamilton #LewisAnnounced pic.twitter.com/erRq1hMTjX
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) February 8, 2021
It has been widely suggested that the one-year contract suits Mercedes much more than the driver, given that once the upcoming season comes to an end, they can then re-evaluate their options which will include George Russell and perhaps Max Verstappen.
Mercedes may have one less man in the equation come the end of 2021 if Hamilton decides to call time on his career, and Doornbos believes that could be a real possibility.
“I can’t look into Lewis’s head, no one can, but you have seven world titles and number eight may be in sight,” said Doornbos.
“And it seems as if he still enjoys it a lot. But on the other hand, last year we saw with Romain Grosjean that those guys are still playing with their lives.
“Moreover, he will probably also have other ambitions, such as Nico Rosberg had and made him decide to suddenly do something different.”
Doornbos also shared his view on the possibility of Verstappen, who is contracted to Red Bull until the end of 2023, ending up at Mercedes before the end of his current deal.
“Everything depends on the year that Max can have,” added Doornbos. “Mercedes realises that and Red Bull realises that.
“Max is not going to Ferrari, but Mercedes would of course be an attractive option. Red Bull will have to pull out all the stops together with Honda to make sure that Verstappen wants to fulfil his contract.”