‘Still a chance’ Lewis Hamilton leaves with doubts over Mercedes, pundit claims

Michelle Foster
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton opposite one another in the Mercedes garage. Spain June 2023

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton opposite one another looking at monitors in the Mercedes garage. Spain June 2023

Lewis Hamilton should take a “punt” on Ferrari with former F1 driver Johnny Hebert saying George Russell is Mercedes’ “future, whatever we think of Hamilton”.

Hamilton, six times a World Champion with Mercedes, is out of contract with the Brackley squad at the end of this season and to date – despite saying it’s coming – hasn’t agreed a new contract with Toto Wolff.

He was asked for an update in Montreal with the Briton saying while he has “seen Toto, we’ve talked several times, we have a great relationship” that today there is “nothing else to say”.

Pressed on whether any progress had been made, he replied: “Yeah… but nothing else new to really add to it.”

In the midst of all that Hamilton has been linked to Ferrari several times with reports, denied by all parties, claiming he has been offered a mega-bucks deal to race in red.

Herbert reckons as long as his Mercedes contract saga rumbles on without a signature, Ferrari still have a chance as he believes they could be the better prospect for the future.

“Hamilton has been on the verge of signing for about a month or more, but I am still thinking there is this Ferrari chance,” he told OLBG.

“I know they have denied it, but the deal hasn’t been done at Mercedes. They keep saying it’s close. I wonder if there is still something else going on outside this.

“I think it is worth a punt by Lewis as I see it that Mercedes, despite the improvement in Barcelona, are still way behind the curve when it comes to challenging Red Bull and to winning races.

“Ferrari have a hell of a lot of potential which they can bring to the table. I still have a question mark about Mercedes Benz at this time.”

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The three-time grand prix winner has cast doubt over Mercedes’ ability to turn their fortunes around in a timeframe that works for 38-year-old Hamilton.

“They are not able to give him or George a car which they are able to win a World Championship with,” he said. “The whole raison d’etre of a driver is to be World Champion.

“You are always aware of what is going around you, you are always aware of who might be the next team with the potential to be with.

“Lewis has definitely had a wake-up call in the last couple of seasons where Mercedes are not on top of their game as they once were.

“Lewis will be thinking, ‘Where am I going to get that chance of an eight title?’ He deserves it for all the reasons we know about. Where is going to give me that fulfillment to be able to do that?’”

Mercedes, though, need not worry if the 38-year-old does opt to jump ship as, whether Hamilton stays or not, Herbert says Mercedes already have their future World Champion on the payroll.

“Mercedes are in a very lucky position because we are all very aware of what George Russell does,” he said. “He has really stepped up and he has really put Hamilton under a lot of pressure.

“Russell is the future, whatever we think of Hamilton, who we know is still good enough to win races.

“Russell is more than capable of being the driver to produce what Mercedes need and who will be very beneficial to them in the future.”

Russell has, according to PlanetF1.com sources, already signed a new long-term deal with Mercedes but one that has yet to be confirmed by the team.