Might Hamilton attain 400 F1 races? Wolff hints at new contract

This weekend’s race at Paul Ricard marks Hamilton’s three hundredth grand prix, with the seven-time world champion turning into simply the sixth driver in F1’s historical past to succeed in the milestone.

Hamilton’s present deal runs till the top of the 2023 F1 season however Wolff hinted on the prospect of the 37-year-old extending his contract.

 

“We talked a number of weeks in the past about how lengthy our partnership can go and the determine mentioned was about 5 to 10 years, so I believe we will go to 400,” Wolff replied when requested if Hamilton might compete in one other 100 races. 

“Somebody as soon as mentioned you haven’t simply acquired to win the eighth – why not ten? Says he who’s a second of the tempo,” added Wolff with fun. 

Hamilton is on target to surpass former McLaren teammate Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher within the record of most skilled F1 drivers by the top of the 2022 season.

Kimi Raikkonen presently holds the all-time document with 349 begins, however Fernando Alonso (344) will set a brand new benchmark later this yr. 

Curiously, no F1 driver has ever gained a race after passing the 300 begins mark. 

Hamilton is presently enduring his longest winless drought in F1, a run that stretches again to final yr’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on December 5. 

If Hamilton fails to win by the point the chequered flag falls on the finish of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November, his document of being the one F1 driver to have taken no less than one grand prix victory in each season accomplished would come to an finish. 

Mercedes qualifying efficiency a ‘slap within the face’ 

Hamilton could have his work minimize out if he’s to win his three hundredth F1 race. The Briton ended up fourth in qualifying however was 0.9s adrift of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and over 0.6s behind 2021 title rival Max Verstappen. 

Mercedes have a robust document at Paul Ricard, having gained two of the three races to have taken place on the Le Castellet venue because the revival of the French Grand Prix in 2018. 

France had been pinpointed as a race the place the Mercedes W13 ought to be robust, with many tipping it because the German producer’s greatest shot of victory thus far this season.

Mercedes have launched additional updates to their automobile this weekend with the intention of reducing the deficit to rivals Ferrari and Crimson Bull, however the Silver Arrows as soon as once more lagged behind when it comes to one-lap tempo. 

“Expectation administration is a little bit of a factor this yr, as a result of we have been slowly however certainly working our method again to the entrance runners,” Wolff mentioned after qualifying. “There have been good indicators in Silverstone after which we went to Austria – a observe the place we’re usually not aggressive in any respect – and we have been shut.

“Then we introduced fairly a pleasant replace package deal to Paul Ricard, a observe that is clean, and off we go to hunt them down after which no efficiency… like, no efficiency.

“We won’t determine what went incorrect. We experimented with rear wings, with nearly the most important now we have, which Lewis described as dragging a parachute behind him within the morning, to a smaller model that makes us lose an excessive amount of pace within the corners.

“Then we have been experimenting with tyre temperatures and you may see we at the moment are 0.7s to Verstappen – the Ferrari lap is a little bit of an outlier with the tow right here with Sainz – however for those who would advised me we’d be 0.7s to 0.9s off the tempo forward of the weekend then that might be a little bit of slap within the face.”

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