Lewis Hamilton can seal a record-equalling seventh drivers’ world title, place himself to be “best of the best” and arrange long-awaited negotiations for a brand new Mercedes contract at this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix. The Briton wants solely to forestall his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas outscoring him by eight factors to retain his crown and, within the eyes of many together with former Ferrari rival Felipe Massa, transfer on to develop into probably the most profitable in F1 historical past. A seventh championship would draw him degree with Massa’s erstwhile Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher for titles, however with the report for wins, poles and podiums, in addition to consecutive factors finishes, he’ll in lots of eyes already be the “greatest of all time”.
Brazilian Massa, who himself missed out on a title triumph when Hamilton claimed his first in Sao Paulo in 2008, has little question that the Englishman, whose contract expires later this yr, will deserve that soubriquet and a wage to match it.
“Lewis can really be the best of the best and everybody will say that for years and years, or maybe decades, or whatever,” he informed the F1 Nation podcast.
“So, I believe he’s simply making ready his two or three-year contract, which I believe he deserves.
“What he’s doing… He exhibits that he positively deserves it — to be completely different to the entire different drivers by way of all the pieces and even by way of wage.”
Hamilton departed the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola earlier this month with an enigmatic suggestion, after his record-increasing 93rd win had secured Mercedes’ unparalleled seventh consecutive constructors’ championship, that he could not return to racing in 2021.
Notions of retirement have been rejected by his crew chief Toto Wolff, who can be out of contract this yr. Massa prompt Hamilton is ready for a bumper new deal forward of any confirmed “wage cap” within the sport.
“I keep in mind when Michael was my team-mate and he was like that,” he recalled. “Michael was fully completely different to all people by way of all the pieces — in information, numbers and wage.
“For sure, Michael helped many other drivers to increase their salary. That’s what Lewis is, in my view, trying to do. I think he is ‘doing right’ and he deserves it.”
In the only phrases, Hamilton can be champion once more if he beats Bottas, who trails him by 85 factors with 4 races remaining. For the Finn to maintain alive his personal title bid, he should out-score Hamilton by 9 factors or extra.
Given that Hamilton has overwhelmed him at 10 of this yr’s 13 races up to now and has been within the factors at a report 46 consecutive races, Bottas faces a frightening problem.
Even if he wins on Sunday on the Istanbul Park Circuit, returning to the calendar for the primary time since 2011, Hamilton can nonetheless take the title by ending second and clocking the quickest lap.
With the title race lowered to a duel between the 2 ‘silver arrows’ drivers, many different groups have turned already to plans for subsequent season – Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto deciding to remain in Italy to focus on automotive growth.
Sporting director Laurent Mekies will take cost, however keep shut contact with Binotto, lacking his first race since taking on final yr.
“He has taken an innovative approach so his voice and input will be heard loud and clear,” he mentioned.
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