Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes announced a 2 year contract extension for the Brit today, one that is slated to make him the highest paid F1 driver in history.
Hamilton and Mercedes have enjoyed a lot of success together and the two entities want to continue that period of success for at least the next two years.
In the driver’s press conference today, Hamilton spoke about another rival team that approached him for a 2019 contract.
However, Hamilton did not pay much heed to it, as he was committed to Mercedes, having already completed preliminary talks with Wolff and his team during the winter.
“In terms of the other guys approaching, one did but I didn’t give it any time,” Hamilton said.
He then also provided a sound reasoning for having signed just a two year contract.
“Yeah, I personally wanted to do two [years]. We were talking about doing three, but in Formula One the shapes are shifting a little bit. Formula One is not committed to all the teams moving forwards beyond 2021 just yet and I am interested to see how all of that plays out.
“It didn’t make sense for me to commit into the unknown, even though it’s easy for me to imagine me being at Mercedes, but commercially everything could shift or not. You don’t want to put yourself in a corner where you can’t move from, so it’s a strategic decision for myself.” the Mercedes man said.
Hamilton conceded that the negotiation phase was intense but one that he deeply learnt from, as it helped him get a better perspective of what was in store for him and the team.
“The one thing that shows is the trust we have between each other. I said from day one, ‘look I’m not talking to anyone else, I’m not investigating to see what other options there are, I’m not playing you against anyone else. While I know there are drivers calling you — which I expect — I also trust that you’re not thinking to do anything else so we can take our time’.
“It’s been great and I’m really happy with the process. I enjoy that negotiation phase, it’s intense, it’s a learning experience, you learn a lot about the person that you’re speaking to. It’s an interesting dynamic but one that I’ve enjoyed doing. This was my third contract with the team and I’m just really, really excited about the plan.
“My mental focus of what I want to do and achieve in this team with them, which I’m not going to elaborate on, but I’m excited about this journey over the next couple of years. I think we can do some great things.” Hamilton concluded.
The other two teams could only be Red Bull or Ferrari, as Hamilton would never have even slightly considered moving to any of the midfield teams because of the performance gap.
Hamilton’s contract confirmation will now trigger the driver market, with Red Bull now keen to get Ricciardo’s deal done and dusted before the summer break.
Ferrari too have to make the important decision about choosing between Leclerc and Raikkonen.