Toto Wolff has revealed he and Lewis Hamilton recently had talks about the driver’s future – and joked the Briton could stick around for 100 more races!
Hamilton chalked up his 300th F1 start in the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, where he enjoyed his best result of the campaign so far in taking second place behind Max Verstappen.
The seven-time former World Champion has a contract with Mercedes until the end of 2023, by which point he will need to have decided whether to continue racing – potentially into his 40s – or call time on a record-breaking Formula 1 career that began in 2007.
Any serious stuff during the latest conversation between team principal and driver about what the future may hold was not disclosed by Wolff, but he did suggest 300 may not necessarily be the last big landmark Hamilton could reach with his number of grand prix appearances.
“We talked a few weeks ago about how long our partnership can go and the number that was discussed was five to 10 years, so we can get to 400,” joked the Austrian, quoted by the PA news agency.
Last year, in an interview with Corriere della Sera, Hamilton had said: “I honestly hope I’m not racing at 40. There are so many things I want to do that it would be difficult.”
This moment between Lewis and the Grid Kids 🥰 pic.twitter.com/mCA8JNyelp
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) July 24, 2022
Hamilton’s former team-mate Nico Rosberg, meanwhile, can see the 37-year-old Briton continuing, especially given how Hamilton has started to get on top of his current Mercedes colleague George Russell at the last few races, and cites Fernando Alonso – only a few days away from his 41st birthday – as an inspiration of how age is no barrier to success.
“It looks like he’s in a good place still, and relishing this new challenge of having George next to him because it’s still as important as ever for Lewis to beat his team-mate.,” Rosberg told Sky Sports News. “The team-mate is the first guy you’re measured to.
“Lewis did an awesome job [in qualifying], really outperformed George over one lap by three or four tenths – that’s a lot, so really phenomenal driving from Lewis.
“I think he’s still motivated and in a good place with the team, so I do see him continuing, why not, for a couple more years.
“In terms of performance, look at Fernando Alonso – he’s 40 years old and still driving at his very best. The way he’s beating [Esteban] Ocon at the moment is really impressive.”
Highlights from the French Grand Prix
Did Max Verstappen win the French Grand Prix, or did Ferrari and Charles Leclerc throw it away? Probably a bit of both.