Lewis Hamilton backed to ‘explore his options’ after Mercedes contract expires this year

F1: Lewis Hamilton extends Mercedes contract

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Lewis Hamilton will explore his options at the end of his Mercedes contract, believes Christijan Albers. Hamilton signed a bumper new contract to keep him with the Silver Arrows until the end of the season.

Hamilton will become a free agent at the end of the upcoming season, just as he was after he secured his seventh Drivers’ Championship last year.

But at the end of the upcoming season, he might not opt to stay with Mercedes, the team he’s been with for almost a decade.

That’s the belief of former F1 driver Albers, who thinks Hamilton, who will then be just a few months shy of his 37th birthday, will explore his options.

Mercedes have put themselves in a good position this year, and could potentially have two empty seats after the end of the season.

Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton’s team-mate, is also under contract for the rest of the season but could then be a free agent.

And with Williams driver George Russell also out of contract after this season, they could have three drivers available to them with both seats available.

However, Albers believes that Hamilton might surprise everyone and move elsewhere.

Hamilton will be paid £40million this year – twice as much as the next highest-paid driver on the grid, Max Verstappen.

Speaking to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Albers explained that he feels Hamilton will use the upcoming season to scout out the market and see if any other team can match his salary demands.

“But Lewis is not simply going to stop and end his career yet,” he added.

“Although he says he loves being alone, let’s be honest – he needs a show.

“I think, during this season, he will be exploring his options with other teams who can pay him more.”

Despite his huge yearly salary, former driver Robert Doornbos believes Hamilton had to make sacrifices in order to sign his new deal, and likely didn’t get all his demands.

He said: “Both sides have had to compromise anyway.

“I think Mercedes ultimately held their ground and Hamilton didn’t get everything he wanted.

“I think Hamilton wanted to sign for a longer period of time and had to compromise on that point.

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