Lewis Hamilton signed a new deal with Mercedes on Monday following weeks of speculation. Former driver Martin Brundle has termed this deal “unusual”.
There was no doubt that a deal between the two parties would be struck soon enough, given that the upcoming season starts in Bahrain on March 28.
Hamilton has been dominant at Mercedes since making the move to the team in 2013. The collaboration has yielded seven consecutive constructors’ titles for Mercedes and six drivers’ titles for Hamilton (Nico Rosberg won the 2016 title).
As a result, Hamilton has equalled Schuacher’s record of most championships in the sport. He has also overtaken Schumacher in terms of most race wins.
In many ways, renewing his contract has enabled Hamilton to brush aside more more records set by the great German driver.
Brundle, though, believes the terms are unusual. “I think it is very unusual, the situation alone,” he told Sky Sports.
“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’.
“A one-year deal leaves Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas his teammate 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, as well as maybe a few other bandits like Max Verstappen, who could be on the market.
“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,” Brundle said.
Given that both drivers are on one-year deals, it will be interesting to see if this changes the dynamics within Mercedes. There is a possibility that two of the most coveted seats in the sport are available after the 2021 season.
Some major changes may be in line following this season. Junior driver George Russell has already put himself in the reckoning following his performance when Hamilton was out last year. Max Verstappen, meanwhile, remains a perennial interest of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.