Mercedes were able to win the first race of the season despite having the second-best car on the grid. In many ways, what helped was a seven-year experience of running at the front and a win-at-all-costs mentality.
It is this mentality that could make Mercedes an attractive proposition for Max Verstappen if Red Bull are unable to compete with the German outfit, according to Damon Hill.
Recently, Christian Horner revealed that Max Verstappen is going to be on the top of Mercedes' list of drivers to choose from. Hill also said it could be the other way around as well.
“Yes, and I think Mercedes will be high on Max’s list as well,” Hill told Autocar. “He’s been very loyal to Red Bull, but if they can’t provide the competitiveness he needs… Time is ticking."
“He was the youngest F1 winner back in 2016, but he hasn’t been able to fight for a championship yet. That will be in his mind.”
Hamilton needs to sign a longer contract with Mercedes
Hill believes the possibility of Verstappen moving to Mercedes was further amplified by Hamilton signing a single-year contract. Hill believes Hamilton needs to finalize the deal as soon as possible and not wait around because Mercedes might be looking elsewhere if given the chance.
“Everybody has this in the back of their mind: "When will I have to stop racing, and will I know when is the right time to stop?’” Hill added.
“Keeping your options open is the right thing to do. The question is whether he’ll be in a stronger negotiating position later this year, and on past track record you’d say he probably will be.
“But we saw what happened with Michael [Schumacher] at Ferrari where you think ‘they’ll wait for me.’ The trouble is Mercedes won’t and can’t."
“That’s the trap, and I’d be wary of it. Assuming you are indispensable is risky.”
The contract negotiation between Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes got dragged on to this season and in the end, both parties could only agree to a single-year contract. Many experts feel this move was akin to kicking the can down the road as the two parties were yet to reach an agreement.
With Hamilton just on a single-year contract, will Mercedes be looking to put Max Verstappen in one of its cars? Ofcourse it is a no-brainer that if Hamilton is not part of the team anymore then the Verstappen option seems the best one out there for Mercedes.