Friday practice at Monza is in the books, a day producing many key talking points in the world of Formula 1.
A report has shed light on Hamilton’s alleged new Mercedes pay cheque after penning a fresh two-year contract to remain with the team, while the seven-time champ has expressed a dim view on the quality of team-mates Max Verstappen has faced compared to himself.
Plenty to get stuck into then, so without further ado…
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Lewis Hamilton pocketing £50 million Mercedes salary
The saga that was Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes future was put to rest ahead of the Italian Grand Prix when a new two-year contract was announced, committing him to the team until the end of 2025.
And it has been reported by The Telegraph that Hamilton’s deal will earn him a salary of £50m per season.
Lewis Hamilton delivers bold Max Verstappen team-mate claim
Verstappen has emerged as the new dominant force in Formula 1 as he goes into the Italian GP chasing a record 10th victory in a row.
With Red Bull undefeated overall in F1 2023, Verstappen has claimed a remarkable 11 of his team’s 13 wins, Sergio Perez restricted to just two with Verstappen having gone on to establish resounding dominance over his team-mate.
But Hamilton, who Verstappen replaced as top dog in Formula 1, believes the Dutchman has not had to prove himself against team-mates of the level he has in his career.
“In my personal opinion, all my team-mates have been stronger than the team-mates Max has had: Jenson [Button], Fernando [Alonso], George [Russell], Valtteri [Bottas], Nico [Rosberg],” Hamilton told Sky F1.
“I’ve had so many. These guys have all been very, very strong, very consistent – and Max has not raced against anyone like that.”
Felipe Massa absent from Monza as legal case continues
With the ex-Ferrari driver chasing compensation for his controversial 2008 title defeat to Hamilton, PlanetF1.com understands that Massa decided of his own accord not to attend the Italian Grand Prix.
Reports that he had been blocked from doing so by Formula One Management are wide of the mark.
David Coulthard picks F1 2023 ‘stand-out star’ not named Max Verstappen
While Verstappen is of course the obvious pick for anyone naming their star of the show in F1 2023, ex-Red Bull racer Coulthard was keen to put praise on a driver currently impressing with another of his former teams.
McLaren have taken great strides forward this season, their upgrade programme for the MCL60 which started in Austria firing them from being on the cusp of the points, to competing for podium finishes.
Norris has since scored a pair of P2s, with the Brit catching the attention of Coulthard.
“I really enjoyed seeing Lando and McLaren coming forward, his team-mate Oscar Piastri is definitely a winner of the future as well,” the 13-time Grand Prix winner told On Track GP.
Max Verstappen brands Lando Norris McLaren deal “not smart”
Several F1 figures had expressed surprise that Norris committed to such a long-term McLaren deal, running until the end of 2025, at a time when the team were showing limited progress in their midfield escape efforts.
Of course now his faith is being rewarded, though that has not stopped rumours over a future switch to Red Bull swirling, both Norris and Verstappen also recently flirting with the idea of being Formula 1 team-mates.
Norris’ McLaren deal though means that is very unlikely to happen in the coming seasons, Verstappen expressing his belief that it was “not smart” for Norris to sign a McLaren contract of that length.
Verstappen currently has the longest deal of any driver on the Red Bull grid, committing him to Red Bull until the end of 2028.
“He signed a very long-term deal with McLaren a few years ago,” Verstappen told media including PlanetF1.com.
“So that was probably not a smart thing to do, from his side.”