National Post (National Edition)

LEADING OFF MERCEDES OPEN ON HAMILTON'S FUTURE

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Mercedes said they never doubted seven-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, shown, would race on for them this year but recognized the future beyond that remained uncertain. The sport's dominant team announced Monday a one-year extension with the 36-year-old Briton, less than expected. “There was not a moment where we thought he would not sign. There was never a moment where he doubted,” team boss and co-owner Toto Wolff said on a Zoom call. The Austrian dismissed media reports that suggested Hamilton, out of contract since December, had sought a share of team revenues and a veto on future driver signings — a so-called `Max Verstappen clause'. Wolff, who has young Briton George Russell waiting in the wings at Williams, said Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton could count on full support for 2021 but the team also needed to take a long-term view. He pointed also to industry transforma­tion, with Mercedes and parent Daimler investing heavily in electric mobility, creating “a financial reality that is very different to what it was a few years ago.”

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