Lewis Hamilton commits to Mercedes until 2025
Three-time Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert has called out Mercedes for reneging on their promise to provide Lewis Hamilton with a competitive car this season. The Brit has committed his F1 future to the Silver Arrows despite their struggle to close the gap on Red Bull at the top of the Constructors' Championship.
Since the 'ground effect' design regulations were introduced in 2022, Mercedes have lagged a long way behind Red Bull in the race for F1 supremacy.
Hamilton has racked up an unmatched 103 Grand Prix victories over the course of his glittering career, but the Silver Arrows' collective issues have sparked the seven-time world champion's longest-ever drought. If he fails to win in Abu Dhabi this weekend, his wait to stand atop the podium will bleed into next season and extend beyond two years.
The 38-year-old has little left to prove in terms of his ability to compete, and Herbert has pointed the finger at Mercedes for failing to deliver on their important commitment.
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"I do remember them saying at the end of last year, they promised that they would have a better car, and they didn't do that," he told Express Sport, in association with Genting Casino. "It's shown glimpses of it, but it's just glimpses.
"That goes back to Max [Verstappen] delivering every time he gets in the car, because he's got the car to help him do that. Can Lewis do that if he's given the car? Yes he can. Words are easy, but I've heard it before and they haven't been able to achieve it this year. It's down to them to give Lewis and George [Russell] the chance of attacking the Red Bulls."
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Hamilton signed a new contract at Mercedes back in August to take him through to the end of 2025. The decision raised eyebrows for some, given the current gap between the Brackley-based team and Red Bull, and the probability of it being Hamilton's final deal.
Even if the veteran fails to notch another win between now and the end of his contract, Herbert feels that he has not done his standing among the sport's greats any harm by sticking with the Silver Arrows.
"The car hasn't been able to deliver what he needs, to deliver what we know Lewis can," he added. "I don't think he's damaged his reputation by staying. His performances have been good when the car has allowed it.
"He was pushed by George but he's turned that around, and now he's the dominant force within that team. I suppose the question is: Can they give him a car capable of winning the title?"