Lewis Hamilton on verge of signing new £120m, three-year deal with Mercedes after breakthrough in talks as six-time world champion aims to match Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 victories in Russia
- Lewis Hamilton is close to agreeing a new three-year deal with Mercedes
- The six-time world champion’s new deal will be worth up to £40m a season
- The Mail on Sunday understands Hamilton is close to a resolution over his future
Lewis Hamilton is close to signing a new three-year deal – worth up to £40million ($50m) a season – to continue his history-breaking association with Mercedes.
The Mail on Sunday understands that the six-time world champion heads into Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix, where he can match Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 victories, with resolution over his future agreed in principle.
Ross Brawn, who took Hamilton to Mercedes and is now F1’s managing director, said: ‘By all accounts Mercedes are looking at another agreement with him for three more years.’
Lewis Hamilton is close to agreeing a new three-year deal – worth £120million – with Mercedes
A number of sources have indicated that it is only a matter of time before the deal is announced.
Hamilton has made no secret of wanting to stay with the team that have powered him to five titles in six years, though his initial pay demands were baulked at by the Daimler board in Stuttgart. A way through the impasse is now believed to have been found.
Hamilton will start Sunday’s Russian Grand Pix in pole position having come within a single second of qualifying only 15th after his afternoon was plunged into jeopardy following Sebastian Vettel’s crash.
The quadruple world champion’s accident at the fourth corner led to the action being halted in Q2 with two minutes and 15 seconds remaining.
Hamilton had failed to post a time – his earlier lap chalked off by the stewards for exceeding track limits.
He made no secret of wanting to stay with Mercedes where he has won five titles in six years
With Vettel’s damaged Ferrari removed, the remaining cars lined up in the pit lane. Hamilton was eighth in the queue ahead of the manic dash to beat the clock.
Leaving the pits, Hamilton ran wide on cold tyres. He was then blocked by Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo at the penultimate corner.
Hamilton’s race engineer gave his driver the hurry-up.
‘Need to go, need to go, need to go,’ the usually serene Pete Bonnington yelled over the radio, and – with just one second left – Hamilton crossed the line to start a new lap. He finished fourth and a crisis was averted.
A re-booted Hamilton then returned in Q3, posting a dazzling track record at the Sochi Autodrom to obliterate his rivals, finishing more than half-a-second clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and six tenths ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes to secure pole 96 of his blockbuster career.
‘I had my heart in my mouth the whole way,’ said Hamilton, 35. ‘It was one of the hardest qualifying sessions that I can remember. It was horrible.
Sebastian Vettel’s nasty crash at the fourth corner had led to Saturday’s action being halted
‘Everything was so rushed. There was panic, all sorts of things going on.
‘I had to calm myself down, find my centre, calm my heart down. I wanted to deliver in Q3. I was adamant that I had no other choice. I had to deliver on those two laps, and I needed a perfect lap to get the pole.
‘We are all under immense pressure and I would say experience helps massively in order to know how to regain your focus.’
It marked another hugely-impressive chapter of the Briton’s career – one which will see him hang up his crash helmet as the most decorated driver the sport has ever seen.
Hamilton is now expected to reach Schumacher’s landmark on Sunday with Russian president Vladimir Putin potentially in town to witness a rewrite of the sport’s record books.
The reigning world champion came within a single second of qualifying only 15th in Sochi
Share this article
Source: Read Full Article