Netflix catch Lewis Hamilton dropping Ferrari clue in private Toto Wolff moment

Lewis Hamilton told Toto Wolff: "You can be here for 20 more years, 30 more years. I can’t!”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day One. -, EMail:
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain,…

Lewis Hamilton may have dropped a hint about Ferrari in a private conversation with Toto Wolff picked up by Netflix’s cameras.

The sixth series of Drive To Survive has been released and is focused on last year, when Hamilton and Mercedes were negotiating a new contract amid their poor on-track results.

The cameras caught Hamilton sitting down in Wolff’s office for a frank and honest chat about their partnership.

“Last year [2022], the development of the car,” Wolff said to Hamilton. “You weren’t happy with me?

“Sticking to the concept, holding onto it because of the encouraging results at the end…”

Hamilton interrupted: “That was the biggest failure.”

Wolff agreed: “It was the biggest failure.”

Hamilton: “Because last year led us in the wrong… you know…”

Wolff said: “For me, personally, when you see the step that Aston Martin made over the winter… if we get it right with the concept of the car - the aero and the balance - we can win a championship.

“But I don’t want to wait until 2026 when we have the new engine regulations.”

Hamilton then dropped a clue which may have hinted at what was to come.

Hamilton, then aged 38, told Wolff: “You can be here for 20 more years, 30 more years. I can’t!”

Wolff: “Who says that?”

Hamilton said: “Precious years for me. I don’t know…”

Wolff: “Lewis, you are much more than a racing driver. Much more than a seven-time world champion. You are one of the people who leads this team forward.”

Hamilton did sign a new two-year Mercedes contract last summer. George Russell also pledged his future to the under-performing team while, this year, Wolff penned new terms to stay as team principal.

Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day One.-
Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director…

But Hamilton stunned F1 - and Wolff - by activating a clause in his new contract, enabling him to go to Ferrari in 2025.

He will spend this year with Mercedes driving the W15 before heading to the famous Italian brand.

Hamilton gave an interview, speaking last year, to Netflix’s Drive To Survive: “I have been with Mercedes since I was 13. So, perspectives just shift.

“This year my contract is up for renewal.

“My mindset is: we’ve had two difficult years so my goal is to get back on top to win a world championship again.

“But then we get in the car, in 2023, and it’s the evil sister. Yeah…”

Hamilton added about his struggles: “I can’t remember winning, if I’m honest.

“It’s been a minute. I don’t remember what that feeling is.

“We have to take it on the chin. Acknowledge that we did not get it right. We took the wrong decisions. Make big strides in the right direction before it’s too late.”

Hamilton told a back-story about the Mercedes engineers ignoring his advice, to their eventual peril.

He said: “Last year I remember complaining to the team: ‘Look we need to make these changes or this is the trajectory we’re going to go on, and this is where we will end up, please please do something about it…’

“I remember that day, they said: ‘We know what we are doing, you are wrong’.

“That was an interesting moment. I stepped back and didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes.

“Then we spoke again in the season - ‘maybe you were right…’”

Hamilton, speaking about re-signing with Mercedes last year, said: “Every time you do a contract, you’d be an idiot if you didn’t analyse where you currently are, and what other opportunities there are.

“Then you make a decision - explore other opportunities or continue along with what you’re doing.”

Wolff said about Hamiton’s new Mercedes contract last year: “I completely understand that Lewis needs to look for the best opportunity for himself.

“But what we agreed early on was to not talk to anybody else before being open and honest with each other.”

Wolff added: “In every relationship you will have moments where your objectives differ. That’s how life goes.

“In the context of our relationship, he’s a loyal guy.”

Hamilton said: “Toto and I have a lot in common. We are competitive and hate losing. We’ve had two difficult years but I still have so much faith in Mercedes. You’ve just got to take a leap of faith.

“Toto has listened. There never feels like a time where I won’t be a Mercedes driver. It is home. It is family.”

Wolff ominously said about Hamilton wearing the red of Ferrari: “It wouldn’t suit him…”

Russell said, speaking last year: “If he were to leave, it would put Mercedes in a tricky spot because it would look like he has lost faith in the team.”

The release of Netflix’s new Drive To Survive series coincides with F1 preseason testing in Bahrain for the upcoming 2024 season.

Hamilton is behind the wheel of the W15 - his final Mercedes F1 car - hoping it brings better fortune than the previous two years.

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