Max Verstappen refuses to rule out replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes


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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has refused to rule out the possibility of replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next season. Hamilton has only committed his future to Mercedes until the end of the 2021 season.

The 36-year-old is expected to beat Michael Schumacher’s record by claiming his eighth world title this year. And then the Brit could retire from F1.

“At the end of the day I don’t know, of course, what Lewis is going to do,” said Verstappen. “I just focus on myself. I’m very focussed on this year and trying to make it a success. So early in the season, with only a basically a shakedown, those kind of things I’m not really thinking about at this stage.”

Verstappen is under contract with Red Bull until 2023 but there is a clause in his deal that could let him walk away for free.

“I’m sure that should Lewis decide to stop then Max would naturally be the driver at the top of the list,” said team boss Christian Horner. “But they also have George Russell, they’ve also got other drivers obviously available to them on.”

He added: “All drivers have safeguards within performance and the reality is that yes, of course, as there has always been, there is an element of performance-related to Max’s contract. I’m not going to go into what that is. It doesn’t relate to the power unit in any way, it’s just a binary performance at a certain measurement in time.

“As with all these things to force a driver that doesn’t want to be there… it’s more about relationships than contracts, and you only pull a contract out of a drawer when you’ve got a problem, in my experience.”


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