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Wolff: 'No outside flirting' in Hamilton, Russell negotiations

Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have signed to stay at Mercedes until the end of 2025.

Toto Wolff
To news overview © XPBimages

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff did not "flirt outside" his camp when it came to re-negotiating contracts for both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

The team announced ahead of the Italian Grand Prix that both Hamilton and Russell had penned extensions to their deals, taking the duo up to the end of 2025.

In Hamilton's case, it put to an end months of speculation over his future and will take him beyond his 40th birthday.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc had been touted as a possible replacement for Hamilton - who had himself been subject to speculation over a potential switch to the Scuderia - but Wolff insisted there had been no discussion outside the current Mercedes duo.

Only Hamilton and Russell for Mercedes

Asked if Leclerc or world champion Max Verstappen had been potential options during the signing-up period, Wolff told Sky Sports F1: "No, because I've always said when we renew [driver contracts], I don't want to flirt outside [the team] if I have a good relationship [with the current drivers].

"Only when I see that things are not going in the right direction [with negtioations] would I then test the markets, but I didn't do it."

On the specifics of the deal struck with Hamilton, Wolff added: "The way that you lose [in negtioations] and that I have learned to handle is that we are not going head-to-head, starting to negotiate the nitty gritty.

"We will leave our teams to do that and then approach each other. Once that was done, we get together and say: 'There are three open points, what we are doing about these?'.

"Generally we meet in the middle and that is what we have done."

F1 2023 Italian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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