Brundle puts Toto Wolff on the spot in awkward Hamilton and Verstappen question

Martin Brundle placed Toto Wolff on the spot while discussing Lewis Hamilton’s new contract during the Italian Grand Prix weekend. The Sky Sports F1 expert questioned the Mercedes boss on whether his driver will be earning more than rival Max Verstappen per year.

According to a report from The Telegraph, Hamilton’s new deal with Mercedes is worth £50million per season and represents a major income boost when compared to his current contract, which expires at the end of the campaign.

Verstappen, meanwhile, signed a new long-term deal with Red Bull off the back of his maiden World Championship triumph. The deal, which is worth £43.3m ($55m) per season, will keep the Dutchman with the Milton Keynes-based team until the end of the 2028 campaign.

Speaking to the Mercedes team principal after FP1 at Monza, Brundle asked: “Will Lewis earn as much as Max?” The Austrian responded with a wry smile on his face, stating: “I don’t know what Max earns.”

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Wolff will be delighted to have secured the services of both Hamilton and team-mate George Russell for another two seasons, with the 25-year-old driver also signing an extension on his current deal, keeping him with the team until 2025. 

Speaking about the influence of Hamilton after the new deals were announced, Wolff explained: “Our partnership with Lewis is one of the most successful in the sport’s history. It was always a formality that we would continue together – and it’s energising for us all to be confirming that publicly. 

“His qualities as a pure racing driver are illustrated by his remarkable track record; but over our years together, he has grown to become a pillar and leader of our team. Those leadership qualities are crucial as we focus on fighting for world championships again.

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“As F1’s biggest global star, he has also played a key role in shaping our commitments to diversity, inclusion and sustainability, that will be foundations for our success in the years ahead.”

The interaction between Brundle and Wolff happened in the aftermath of FP1, in which Mercedes’ weekend got off to a tentative start. Russell could only manage a P5 finish, while team-mate Hamilton was eighth-fastest during the session.

Mercedes are yet to win a Grand Prix in 2023 and only produced one win in 2022, but Hamilton and Russell both believe that their team can take the fight to Red Bull and Verstappen next season. 

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