Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton contract breakthrough?

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes Formula 1 (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes Formula 1 (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) /

Did Mercedes indicate that they and Lewis Hamilton had a breakthrough in contract talks for the 2021 Formula 1 season?

The start of the 2021 Formula 1 season is just over two months away, and only 19 of the 20 seats on the grid have confirmed drivers.

The one without a confirmed driver is, of course, the seat at Mercedes alongside Valtteri Bottas, which has been occupied by seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton since he replaced seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher after the 2012 season.

While Mercedes and Hamilton have not publicly revealed anything other than the intent to get a deal done, multiple recent reports have suggested that the two parties are quite far apart in terms of contract talks.

Hamilton is reportedly seeking far more than the Silver Arrows are willing to give.

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While Ineos, which recently became a one-third shareholder of team along with Daimler and team principal Toto Wolff, have been tipped to cover the portion of Hamilton’s contract which Mercedes are unwilling to cover, there still has not been an agreement announced.

However, was there a recent breakthrough indicated by the Brackley-based team on Twitter? That may be how it seemed at first, but it turned out to be nothing — at least for now.

Mercedes posted the following photo of a pen on Twitter, leaving many fans believing that Hamilton and the team could be close to reaching an agreement.

However, the team proceeded to sign Frederik Vesti as a new Mercedes Junior Driver.

While this doesn’t mean that Hamilton won’t end up signing a deal to return to the team for the 2021 season, it doesn’t appear as though the team have dropped any actual hints about that matter specifically.

The team did also retweet a video of Hamilton training, presumably getting ready for the upcoming season.

But as of now, he is not an official member of the team.

The rest of Hamilton’s thread reads:

"“I’m trying to find the right balance in cardio and strength building. On top of that, lots of work ongoing in the background. Many moving parts but just checking in to let you know I’m doing good, I’m healthy and mentally strong right now in my bubble…I hope you are staying as positive as you can with all that is still going on. Keep your head up. I can’t wait to see you all again at some stage soon.”"

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While the Mercedes pen picture evidently had nothing to do with Hamilton, will the seven-time world champion be back with the seven-time reigning constructor champions in 2021, and if so, what will his new deal look like? If not, who will be his replacement alongside Bottas, who signed another one-year extension back in August?