Damon Hill explains potential new reason behind Lewis Hamilton contract hold-up

Mark Scott
Lewis Hamilton and Damon Hill appear side by side.

Damon Hill speaks as Lewis Hamilton contract talks drag on.

1996 World Champion Damon Hill believes “bureaucracy” is the reason behind Lewis Hamilton’s contract hold-up with Mercedes.

Hamilton’s current deal with the Silver Arrows expires at the end of the 2023 season and, with no new deal announced despite talks taking place for months, it has seen a huge breeding ground of rumours develop.

From making a shock move to Ferrari to leaving F1 for good and everything in between, the latest talk is Hamilton could sign a huge, long-term deal with the Silver Arrows to end any and all speculation.

Lewis Hamilton contract: What is the hold up?

Hill, who will be very familiar with prolonged contract talks himself during his time in F1, has also heard that Hamilton will deviate from his now usual short-term deal and instead make a massive commitment to Mercedes.

“The talk is that Lewis is finalising a much longer-term deal that goes beyond his racing career,” Hill told Press Association.

“The car company itself is involved, so there is a bit more bureaucracy in this deal.”

The controversial way in which Hamilton saw a record-breaking eighth World Championship title slip through his fingers at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix could have been enough to see him walk away from the sport altogether.

But, he has risen to the challenge of trying to get Mercedes back on a equal footing with Red Bull again in the battle for more silverware.

That response has been praised by fellow Brit, Hill.

“It is admirable the way Lewis kept his chin up after what happened in Abu Dhabi,” Hill added.

“He got back on with the task in hand and he is driving better again this year than he has done before. He is starting to gel with that car now and he has solved some of the problems he faced.

“So I would be amazed if he doesn’t want to go out on a high by winning that eighth title, and he is absolutely motivated by that. He has got that longevity and he looks after himself.

“He needs a competitive car, half-a-chance, and someone like Lewis will rise up to that challenge and find more in himself. At the moment we are seeing a happier Hamilton, and a happy Hamilton is a fast Hamilton.”

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Hill predicts Max Verstappen to follow in Lewis Hamilton’s footsteps

Hamilton’s dominant days are currently on hold as Mercedes try desperately to undo their car development mistakes and, for now, it is all about one driver and one driver only: Max Verstappen.

The Dutchman is cruising towards a third World Championship crown and Hill believes he will continue to dominate the sport, much like Hamilton has done in the past.

Hill added: “I certainly see him having his own era called ‘the Max Verstappen era’ where he wins practically everything.

“If you appreciate great drivers and the job they do then it is great to watch. But I understand people want to see a race and not a demonstration and we have to be patient and hope the others catch him up pretty quickly.”

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