Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff playing ‘guess what number I’m thinking of’

Lewis Hamilton is yet to extend his contract with Mercedes, something that he promised would happen over the winter break.

Towards the end of last season, both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff confirmed that the Brit’s contract with Mercedes would be extended over the winter break.

The seven-time world champion’s current contract expires at the end of this season, leaving Hamilton without a race seat for next season and sparking speculation that he could retire from Formula 1.

When asked about the issue over the winter, Wolff repeatedly claimed that the extension was inevitable and the team were simply waiting for their driver to return from his off-season adventures in Antarctica to begin negotiations.

Pre-season testing in Bahrain is now over and for the first time in 2023, it is race week, sparking concern from fans that Hamilton may have changed his mind, having not extended his contract over the past few months.

READ: Who were the fastest teams in Bahrain pre-season testing?

Former F1 champion Damon Hill has a theory about Hamilton’s contract situation, suggesting that he may wait to see how this season pans out before deciding his future.

“How does a driver know when it’s time to go? If this is not a question Lewis Hamilton is pondering very hard at the moment, as he prepares to begin his 17th season in Formula 1, it is certainly one he’s going to be asked at an uncomfortably increasing rate as the clock ticks down on his stellar career,” he told The Telegraph.

“As far as we know, he has no contract for 2024. The game of ‘guess what number I’m thinking of’ will be played between him and Toto Wolff as the races count down this season.

“If he wins that fiendishly elusive eighth world title, will he plant his flag on the summit of F1 record books and call it a day? Or if he doesn’t win, will he press on in hope, vain or otherwise?

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“For my part, I remember arriving in Melbourne at the beginning of the 1999 season and looking around at all the other drivers and thinking ‘they’re all 20 years younger than me! Would I be going to a party with guys 20 years younger than me? Probably not!’

“I just didn’t want to be the ‘old guy’. I had seen that happen to my dad. He raced into his 40s and I vividly recall towards the end of his career all the talk about his age.”

Hamilton has admitted that he dreams of retiring as a world champion, supporting Hill’s theory that the legendary Brit could retire from F1 if he wins the championship this year and surpasses Michael Schumacher with eight titles.