F1 preview: A lap of the Belgian Grand Prix
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Lewis Hamilton has claimed there are “pros and cons” to signing long-term F1 deals after Daniel Ricciardo was sacked by McLaren. Ricciardo had a contract in place for next season but McLaren have paid off the Australian to release him from his deal.
It means Ricciardo has no drive for next season despite being a multiple-race winner. Hamilton reacted when he was asked if there were negatives to having long-term security in case relationships broke down.
The seven-time champion said his loan deal at McLaren was “good at the time” but admitted he doesn’t feel short-term deals work overall. The Mercedes star admitted it does take time to build relationships in a team which can only work over the long-term.
Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, Hamilton said: “Just from my personal experience, I think there’s pros and cons always in all different scenarios. I remember when I signed at McLaren, I signed a loan deal. And I think that was good at the time.
“When you do short deals… it takes time to bond with a team, it takes time to build relationships, it’s not something that you can do in half a year or a year. I’m incredibly grateful for my journey with my team because we’re still continuously improving and growing closer and, and starting to actually create some change.
“But to each their own, whatever works. I look down, and see what other drivers are doing. It doesn’t matter what I think, whether I think it’s right or wrong, it’s what they feel is right. And at the end of the day, just the opportunity to re-sign with the team is an amazing scenario.”
Hamilton defended Ricciardo when asked about the former Red Bull star’s predicament. He stressed the Australian still “deserves a place” in F1 and pushed for a team to offer him a drive.
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He explained: “It’s really unfortunate for Daniel, but I really, really hope that… I still think he deserves a place here in the sport. So I really hope there’s somewhere great for him, because he’s still got lots to achieve.”
Hamilton’s contract expires at the end of the 2023 season but the multiple champion has hinted he could stay in F1 past next year. Although previously claiming he didn’t want to be in F1 by the time he was 40 years old, Hamilton explained he could be tempted to continue.
He told Vogue: “I’ll be lying if I said that I hadn’t thought about extending. I’m still on the mission, I’m still loving driving, I’m still being challenged by it. So I don’t really feel like I have to give it up anytime soon.”
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