Lewis Hamilton contract: 10-month deal labelled 'very unusual'

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Former F1 driver Martin Brundle has described Lewis Hamilton’s new Mercedes contract as ‘unusual’ and feels the short-term nature of the deal shows that it’s been rushed through.

Hamilton put pen-to-paper earlier this week on a new one-year deal with the German car giants, worth up to £40 million.

Following prolonged contract negotiations that lasted several months, many were surprised to see the seven-time world champion commit to just one further year, rather than the expected two seasons.

No one was more surprised it seems, than Brundle. The ex-pro, now a commentator for Sky Sports, believes neither party could agree on a longer-term contract, potentially leaving Hamilton in limbo in ten months time, as well as teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Brundle said: "I think it is very unusual, the situation alone. It has taken a long time, and for a team and a driver of such stature a one-year deal is unusual.

It seemed like they couldn't work it out, but had to force it because the new season is coming up. 

"I think they thought the winter tests are coming, we have to do something."

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"A one-year deal leaves Lewis, Valtteri and George Russell, the young driver who led of course when Hamilton was sidelined with Covid-19 back in Bahrain, all out of contract at the end of this year.

"Clearly at least one of the parties wanted to keep their options open, I suspect that was Mercedes, so they put it to bed for this year and are saying they will sort 2022 out somewhat earlier."

Elsewhere, new CEO Stefano Domenicali has revealed that F1 chiefs will meet soon to discuss the possibility of replacing qualifying with Saturday sprint races for certain races this season.

Speaking last week, Domenicali said; "It's important to think of new ideas to be more attractive or interesting, but no need to lose the traditional approach to racing.

"What we learned when we were changing the qualifying every two days was something that burnt our fingers.

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"We need to avoid that, and therefore now I think that the format is quite stable. What we're looking at is what could be the approach to a so-called Saturday sprint race.

"We're thinking of testing this already this year. There are ongoing discussions with teams in the right forum."

It is believed that the Canadian, Italian and Brazilian grids will implement the new format as part of F1’s new shake-up.

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