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2018 F1

Hamilton to reject Mercedes contract: Damon Hill

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Former F1 world champion and Sky Sports F1 pundit Damon Hill has hinted that defending world champion Lewis Hamilton could refuse to sign a contract extension with Mercedes.

First two rounds – Australian Grand Prix and Bahrain Grand Prix saw success for Ferrari instead of Mercedes. Hamilton is targeting to win his fifth career world title this season, but the start was very disappointing for Brit, even as his main rival Sebastian Vettel made victory in first two races.

Vettel set a blistering new lap record for Ferrari as he took pole position for Sunday’s Chinese GP, but the Mercedes ace made just fourth on grid behind his teammate Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton was a half-second off Vettel’s pace, and admitted he couldn’t explain the gap.

Hamilton’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season and delay has sparked rumours that the Brit may choose to walk away from Mercedes and Hill thinks he would be right to do so if they cannot challenge for the top honours any more.

“It does look like the tide is turning,” Hill told Sky Sports.

“Vettel has bagged the first two races of the Championship and it looks like he is in a strong position to win a third one.

“If this is the start of a new era then Lewis Hamilton will have to think carefully about whether he signs up to Mercedes for a long-term contract.

“All these racing drivers know the game, they know they have to be in the team that is going to be the team to be with in the coming era.

“It’s like empires rising and falling and maybe Mercedes are on the wane and the new Ferrari era is about to come back.”

“This is the turning point,” Hill added.

“For so long we have seen Mercedes dominate. They’ve had the party mode in qualifying but now both Ferrari cars are ahead of Mercedes. It certainly does look like the tide has turned for the first time in a long time in this turbo-hybrid era.”

It’s still premature stage of the season, obviously, but things are undoubtedly far more inspiring for Ferrari than Mercedes; Hamilton is going to have a huge decision to make.

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