Felipe Massa believes Lewis Hamilton should be treated like Michael Schumacher when it comes to contract talks with Mercedes.
The Silver Arrows have consistently stated the reason their star driver is yet to extend his contract beyond 2020 is because COVID-19 restrictions have made it difficult for both parties to sit down and discuss the deal.
Well on his way to a record-equalling seventh World Championship, surely Hamilton wouldn’t walk away from Formula 1 without taking a shot at an eighth? The rules are stable for next season, Mercedes are seemingly just getting better, so who could stop him?
But recent talk from the Briton has made the situation less clear. After the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Hamilton claimed his 93rd race win, he said that he wasn’t definitely going to be on the grid in 2021.
Hamilton has also spoken about the “lonely” journey that 2020 has been due to the restrictions, making him miss his friends and family, while in a recent interview he said that his move from McLaren to Mercedes taught him the value of doing what felt right to him, not what was expected of him.
The other theory is that what Mercedes and Hamilton have respectively put on the table isn’t enough for the other. The Silver Arrows reportedly are not comfortable with a one-year deal for Hamilton, while the potential driver salary cap from 2023 is another stumbling block.
But having caught and passed so many Schumacher records already, Massa believes Hamilton deserves the same treatment that the seven-time World Champion received in his Ferrari contract talks.
“[Lewis] is just unbelievable,” said Massa on the F1 Nation podcast.
“He can really be the best of the best and everybody will say that for years and years, and maybe decades. So I think Lewis is just preparing… a two, three-year contract, which I think he deserves, to be honest. What he’s doing, it shows that he definitely deserves to be different to all of the other drivers, in terms of everything – even in terms of salary.
“I remember when Michael was my team-mate, he was like [Hamilton].
“Michael was completely different than anybody in terms of everything; in terms of records, in terms of numbers – and in terms of salary.
“For sure, Michael also helped many other drivers to increase their salary, so that’s what in my view Lewis is trying to do, and I think he’s doing right and he deserves it, because… he’s showing that whatever happens, he’s different than the others for the moment.
“I remember so well when Michael was my team-mate and he had 91 victories, for me it was like impossible another driver would be able to beat him… and [now] Lewis will beat all of them. He already beat all of the records, so he’s just missing the Championships to beat Michael, but I think he can do it, and he deserves it, because what he’s showing in his career is just amazing.”