There have been rumors of Lewis Hamilton wanting more money or a bigger stake in the team, on the other hand, there have been rumors of Mercedes unwilling to give Lewis a long term contract, there are some other rumors that state Mercedes is not even willing to match the money they paid Lewis Hamilton in their previous contract.
Amidst all of this, there have been talks about Lewis Hamilton losing his bargaining power because of George Russell’s performance at the Sakhir GP. Many pundits have given their views as well, as we saw Eddie Jordan famously said that he would have fired Hamilton if he were to make such demands.
Lewis Hamilton is the best driver on the grid. There aren’t many drivers on the grid that can do what Lewis did in Turkey in 2020. Having a car incapable of winning and taking the chequered flag with it is something not many can boast of in their careers. Mercedes, in all likelihood, would not have won the race in Turkey. Valterri Bottas showed that by finishing the race a lap down. It was only Lewis and his ability that made this possible for him. This is the gap that Lewis fills in that Mercedes.
The change in regulations in 2022 can shrink Mercedes’ advantage. The 2022 regulations have two specific goals. The first is decreasing the budget for the teams and the second is bringing the grid closer when it comes to pace. With the changes in regulations, the role and the impact of drivers on the race is bound to increase. Now, for Mercedes to continue their reign at the top of the sport they would need someone of the caliber of Lewis to win those crucial races, to be consistent, and most importantly to help them win the titles.
George Russell is yet to prove himself. Russell had a great weekend at Sakhir, he showed great pace and was able to display a great run of pace. But at the end of the day, it’s just one weekend. Can he do it race after race? Can he keep the pressure of Max Verstappen at bay all the time? Can he perform in all conditions? Can he win when the car is not up to the mark?