Nico Rosberg reacts to confusing update on Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes contract

Thomas Maher
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton makes his way through the paddock at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton makes his way through the paddock at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023.

Nico Rosberg has given short shrift to Toto Wolff’s explanation of where Lewis Hamilton’s contract situation is at.

Hamilton is currently a free agent in F1 at the conclusion of this season, with no contract extension yet confirmed by Mercedes. Both sides have indicated a willingness to continue together but, following several months of discussions, the matter has still not been concluded.

Hamilton recently revealed that he is not taking any first-hand part in the negotiations, with the contract now being thrashed out with lawyers, while Toto Wolf gave a mysteriously worded update in Hungary.

Nico Rosberg: What is an ’emotionally done’ contract?

Speaking to Sky F1 early in the Hungarian weekend, Wolff was quizzed on where Hamilton’s contract negotiations are at, with the Austrian replying to say “The state is we haven’t signed it but emotionally we have done it.”

That answer confused 2016 F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg, who drove for Wolff at Mercedes between 2010 and ’16 before his abrupt retirement from the sport.

“Can someone tell me what that means, when the contract is emotionally done?” he said when discussing the matter with Simon Lazenby on Sky F1.

With Lazenby commenting that surely the contract isn’t done until the ink is dry, Rosberg agreed.

“I have no idea where that [came from], or why Lewis is taking so much time, but all of us hope that he will continue, of course,” he said.

“It really seems to be the case. I mean, especially with the car progressing now, that’s going to help that contract process also because, once Lewis now feels the possibility ‘hey, I can do pole positions again, I can win races’, [he’ll] want to continue doing this.” recommends

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Lewis Hamilton is clearly ‘still hungry’ in F1

With Hamilton one of the elder statesmen in the sport, there has been plenty of rumour and conjecture about whether or not Hamilton wants to actually continue in the sport – his future coming under the microscope with every contract negotiation since the high-profile and controversial title loss to Max Verstappen at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

But, with Hamilton taking his first pole position since the end of 2021 at last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the extent of his exuberance – and the corresponding despondency at finishing fourth in the Grand Prix – means he is still emotionally invested in F1, according to Rosanna Tennant.

Appearing on the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast, she said she “quite liked” seeing Hamilton’s emotional highs and lows, and that “he is enjoying those moments because you realise he’s so emotionally involved still with Formula 1 because there are obviously the naysayers who say he’s not hungry for it anymore. And you know, he could go off and do whatever he wants now he’s achieved everything he needs to.

“But the fact that he feels those highs so acutely and those lows, it kind of makes me think he’s still very happy to be part of Formula 1. And you know, that contract pending with Mercedes? Surely, we’ll hear more about that soon.”

Former Williams stand-in Jack Aitken agreed with Tennant, saying: “I think people mistake the disappointment of finishing on the second or third steps so often when you’re used to setting your expectations for a win, versus disinterest. It’s not disinterest. He’s just having a hard time. They’ve all been through a hard time at Mercedes after setting the bar so high for so long and he’s clearly still hungry.”

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