Despite a new contract having not been signed yet, Lewis Hamilton has confirmed ahead of this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix that he is “staying” with Mercedes next season.
Hamilton’s future has been one of the biggest talking points of the season, with him having been linked to the likes of Ferrari.
He reportedly rejected an offer to join the Italians from Ferrari chairman John Elkann, although team principal Frederic Vasseur has since insisted that they have no interest in the seven-time World Champion.
It’s always been believed that Hamilton will remain with the Silver Arrows next season, having had ties with the team since he was just a child.
Following his comments ahead of this weekend, it appears that Hamilton’s relationship with Mercedes will continue.
“I’m staying where I am,” Hamilton said.
“It just takes time. We just had this break, as well. In this break, no-one has been thinking about it. Hopefully it will be done soon.”
A reporter was quick to ask Hamilton: “What is missing?”
To which the Mercedes driver replied: “I can’t tell you. There’s always something missing.”
Some have wondered whether the delay in Hamilton signing a new deal is because he’s waiting to see the performance of the car, something he’s quashed.
It’s clear though, that Hamilton isn’t going to have the best car on the grid, making some ponder what his motivation to continue is.
Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft believes Hamilton must have some “belief” in him that things will improve next season, given that he could easily retire now and “live comfortably”.
“Hamilton could retire now and live comfortably for the rest of his life, knowing he would leave this sport as one of the greatest drivers, if not the greatest driver, that we’ve ever seen,” Croft said.
“If he’s talking about staying at Mercedes, I think the belief is there.
“I don’t think the trust has ever disappeared, I don’t think the belief has ever disappeared, between Lewis and the team.
“Why would it, given what they’ve given him since 2013?
“Things aren’t signed but there’s no discord, no problem that’s stopping him signing.
He’s not going to go anywhere else, I don’t the seats are there to give him a world championship crack.
“So staying at Mercedes is his No1 option because that will give him the best chance. He can’t get a seat at Red Bull because Checo Perez is staying alongside Max Verstappen.
“I’m glad he’s saying that he’s going to stay, because nobody who’s a fan of Formula 1 wants to see Hamilton retire just yet.”