Lewis Hamilton ‘wants reassurances’ from Mercedes as he delays new contract

Lewis Hamilton failed to win a single race in 2022, marking his worst season with Mercedes and in Formula 1 as a whole.

Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft believes seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton will be wanting “reassurances” from Mercedes, with pre-season testing having been incredibly mixed for the Brackley-based team.

Mercedes started pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit superbly, with the Germans having completed 152 laps on the opening day.

The final day was also positive for the Silver Arrows, with team principal Toto Wolff having proudly revealed that porpoising doesn’t appear to be an issue for the team this season.

However, day two didn’t go well, with George Russell having stopped on-track following a hydraulic problem.

READ: Aston Martin deliver heart-breaking news to Sebastian Vettel fans

Mercedes lost valuable running time as a result, with the team having also discovered a balance-based issue with the W14.

Rear grip was something else that left the usually dominant side puzzled, with Hamilton having been shown on camera leaving ’11s’ on the circuit, most notably on the exit of Turn Eight.

The day two issues clearly concerned the side, with a late meeting amongst Wolff, Russell, Hamilton and a few engineers having been photographed following the day.

Whether it’s a tactic to throw-off their rivals, Mercedes have been incredibly honest by admitting that they won’t be at the front next weekend in the season opener, and that their time will come at the end of the year.

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It appears that Mercedes might not even be the third best team at the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Aston Martin having made sensational progress over the winter.

Should Aston Martin start 2023 ahead of Mercedes, then the Germans could find themselves leading the midfield, rather than challenging the front.

12 months ago, such a proposition would’ve been laughed at; however, given how difficult 2022 was for Mercedes, anything is possible for the side hoping to prove that last season wasn’t a blip.

Given the expectation amongst Mercedes that they won’t be fighting to win in Bahrain, Croft wonders if Hamilton will have a “lot of questions” for the team, given that he’ll be wanting to avoid a repeat of last year.

READ: ‘Lewis was devastated’: Hamilton wants to prove doubters wrong after George Russell defeat

“There will be a lot of questions,” Croft said.

“And if you’re Lewis Hamilton and his team, you have a great relationship with Mercedes, but you do want that eighth World Championship.

“And you’re going to want reassurances that what might have been a blip last year isn’t going to turn into something more long term, and a car this year that is equally as problematic as the W13 was.”