Mercedes rumours could unsettle Hamilton ahead of F1 season
Lewis Hamilton is being widely touted as the successor to Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher at the end of the season, far from ideal preparation as he aims to justify a 5/1 price to win the 2012 Driver’s Championship.
Hamilton’s McLaren contract is due to expire after this year’s championship, and German newspaper Bild am Sonntag has now reported that Mercedes would make a move for the Brit should their seven-time World Champion Schumacher retire for the second time.
Further weight would seem to be lent to the newspaper’s claims by their reporting of previous links existing between Hamilton and Mercedes, who were a partnership during Hamilton’s F3 title win of 2005.
A 2008 F1 champion, Hamilton is second-favourite to claim the world title again this year with McLaren, but the distraction that will come with such speculation may not bode well for the 27-year-old.
Indeed, even the CEO of Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone, has outlined his belief that Hamilton will not see out the entirety of his career as a McLaren driver.
Ecclestone told BBC Sport, “If he doesn’t perform this year he’ll be looking to move on. And the team, maybe, will also be looking to him to move on.”
With 1/1 favourite Sebastian Vettel having a great chance to achieve a third consecutive F1 championship success with Red Bull, some will be discouraged to get behind the idea of a Hamilton win, therefore making a Mercedes switch seem more likely.
However, the team are playing down the rumours as it stands, with a Mercedes spokesman telling German channel Sport1, “This is all just speculation. There are no negotiations with any drivers and we will only speak with Michael at the appropriate time.
“For now our entire focus is on the start of the season.”
Patriotic punters looking to back Hamilton to win a second F1 championship at 5/1 will be hoping he has that same focus.