Mercedes has admitted it wants to keep Lewis Hamilton beyond 2018. Some media sources claim the new quadruple world champion is demanding a pay-rise for a new contract in 2019 and beyond.
Niki Lauda, the team chairman, thinks Hamilton has driven perfectly this year. "This year, Lewis won the championship for Mercedes, it's that simple," he told Brazil's Globo. "I think Ferrari had the best chassis-engine package, and now Red Bull has arrived too. But Lewis drove like never before, with little to no errors, driving like a God, and gave us the title," Lauda added.
Team boss Toto Wolff agrees. "He's the greatest driver I've ever worked with," he said. "We really want him to stay with us, of course." Lauda agrees that Hamilton staying in the future is important to Mercedes. "Experienced drivers become better grand prix after grand prix, year after year. It's the only way to succeed in any sport," he said.
And to that end, Lauda hinted that Mercedes will keep his eye on the development of young sensation Max Verstappen. "Max is the most fantastic young driver I've ever seen, no doubt," said the F1 legend. "The only thing I would tell him is to keep his feet on the ground. He has a tendency to lose control of himself, but if he masters those impulses he can be one of the greatest drivers F1 has ever known." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing