Max Verstappen claims Lewis Hamilton is ‘raising the price’ amid contract talks

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has revealed that just the date is missing from Lewis Hamilton's new contract.

Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen took a cheeky dig at rival Lewis Hamilton ahead of last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, which he went on to win in dominant fashion.

Verstappen’s second win at the Circuit de Monaco saw him eclipse Sebastian Vettel’s 38 wins for Red Bull, with the Dutchman’s victory on Sunday having been the 39th of his Formula 1 career.

The build-up to the Grand Prix was dominated though, by a report from the Daily Mail, which suggested that Ferrari were planning a £40 million offer for Hamilton.

The rumour was firmly denied by Hamilton, Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, with the latter having revealed that the 38-year-old’s new contract with the Silver Arrows is effectively ready to be signed.

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Wolff shared how the only thing missing from Hamilton’s new deal is the date, suggesting that an announcement could come at any time.

The Ferrari rumour though, was a key theme amongst the pre-weekend drivers’ press conference, with the media having been keen to discover if there was any truth behind it.

Verstappen wasn’t too keen to discuss the topic given that he wasn’t “interested” in Hamilton’s contract negotiations; however, he joked that perhaps the rumours would work in the seven-time World Champion’s favour.

“I’m not interested in it, it’s not my problem,” Verstappen told GPFans. “In the end it’s his decision, isn’t it?

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“I think he’s happy at Mercedes and they’ve won a lot together.

“Maybe it’s good (the rumours), because it raises the price a bit that Mercedes has to pay, so that’s good (for Hamilton).”

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The general expectation is that Hamilton’s new contract will see him remain with the Brackley-based team in 2024 and 2025, before deciding whether to sign another new deal prior to the new power unit regulations in 2026.

Given that the new engine regs could once again reshuffle the pecking order, Hamilton might view the end of 2025 as a good time to retire from F1, a decision which Fernando Alonso might also make.

Hamilton’s decision will presumably depend on how he feels and how well Mercedes are performing, with the likelihood being that he might opt to continue if the Silver Arrows have returned to the front.