Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton has indicated he’s finally on the verge of agreeing a new Mercedes contract for 2024, suggesting it can be done as early as Monday after the Spanish Grand Prix.
Hamilton matched his best result of the F1 season so far with second at Barcelona and was beaming about the performance of the upgraded Mercedes W14 – which comfortably outperformed its Ferrari and Aston Martin counterparts in race trim in Spain and was good enough to keep the Red Bull of Sergio Perez at bay, even if the other Red Bull of Max Verstappen was well and truly out of reach.
The 38-year-old has a deal that only currently runs to the end of 2023, but said during the post-race press conference that while he hoped the W14 would progress enough to be a regular thorn in Red Bull’s side at the end of the season, his main focus was in starting 2024 on level terms with Red Bull.
Asked subsequently about whether that meant he would be in what will presumably be the Mercedes W15 next year, Hamilton said while breaking into laughter: “I haven’t signed anything yet, but… I think we’re thinking of meeting with Toto [Wolff] tomorrow, so hopefully we can get something done!”
A Ferrari offer for his services for 2024 was rumoured just last month but was denied by all the parties involved, with Hamilton and Mercedes always insisting a renewal would come.
“I think we just need to get time and to sit over coffee. It’s going to take half an hour,” Toto Wolff likewise told Sky about Hamilton’s extension in the aftermath of the Spanish GP.
Hamilton acknowledged that his own answer about the contract was “not a subtle hint”.
“I mean, we’ve had so many meetings. So, it’s just another one of the meetings that we’re having.”
On whether it would be good to put the distraction of not yet having a deal in place for 2024 aside, he said: “I mean, you can see today my results, my performance is not affected by that.
“It’s always something that’s at the back of your mind [though] so once that’s done then you’re able to focus more and think about the future.
“But as I said, I’m working as hard as I can with this team and I see so much strength within the team, I think they’re still so hungry, and the podium today was really, really special, I saw them in the distance, at the back [of the crowd] – they’re always at the back! – but to be able to see the excitement in all the people I’ve worked with in such a long time [is special].
“And when we go back right now, it’ll be a great energy within the office. These guys, they’ll take two seconds to enjoy themselves and be happy and then they’ll go back down into the books and trying to figure out how we can win the next race. That’s what I love about them.”