Hamilton demand ‘pivotal’ to Mercedes deal, Verstappen bemoans Red Bull change

F1 preview: A lap of the Monaco Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes appear to be edging closer to finding an agreement as the Briton aims to end his long-spanning winless run at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday. The Briton batted away speculation linking him with Ferrari as the seven-time world champion looks to extend his association with the Silver Arrows to beyond a decade after the German manufacturer brought in major changes to their W14 car.

After an unexpected break due to the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola with heavy flooding affecting Italy, the teams head to Monaco hoping to end Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s dominance after winning all five races this season.

The Dutchman has claimed three wins ahead of Sergio Perez’s two so far and Christian Horner will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the tension from the 2022 race weekend after Perez’s crash in qualifying cost Verstappen the chance of pole and victory. 

Aston Martin are planning for the future after announcing their link-up with Honda from 2026, a move that could leave some figures at Red Bull feeling irritated, and that could add fuel to the fire if Fernando Alonso manages to pull off a surprise performance in qualifying.

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  • Mercedes make ‘pivotal’ change for Hamilton08:04
  • Verstappen bemoans Honda’s Red Bull snub08:04
  • Mercedes make ‘pivotal’ change for Hamilton

    Mercedes’ changes to their car could be crucial in keeping Lewis Hamilton for 2024 and beyond after finally introducing major improvements to their design.

    The Silver Arrows have introduced sidepods to their car for the first time since the regulation changes, a move that could prove to be ‘pivotal’ in convincing Hamilton sign a new contract as his current deal expires at the end of the season, according to Sky Sports F1’s Craig Slater.

    “If you are a Lewis Hamilton fan and are interested in him staying at Mercedes, interested in his prospects of winning an eighth World Championship, then this fundamental change is going to be pivotal in deciding whether that happens,” Slater said to Sky Sports.

    “The key aspect relates to the sidepods. This was the car that famously had no sidepods, now it has sidepods that looks more or less like the rest of the field. They are not as finely refined as the Red Bull sidepods and look a bit to me like the Williams or the Alpine.”

    Verstappen bemoans Honda’s Red Bull snub

    Max Verstappen has lamented Honda’s decision to link up with Aston Martin from 2026 after turning their back on Red Bull.

    The Japanese engine manufacturer will supply Aston Martin with engines when the new regulations come in, and Verstappen has given his take on the news.

    “From our side, it is a bit unfortunate how it all turned out [in the end] because a few years ago, they said: ‘We’re going to stop’ and then Red Bull sets up this whole engine division,” Verstappen told media, including RacingNews365.

    “Then at one point, [Honda] say: ‘Oh we’ll continue.’ When you’re already in the process of building a whole engine yourself, you can’t really work together anymore. It is a bit of a shame I would say.”

    Good morning!

    Hello and welcome to Express Sport’s LIVE coverage of F1 news ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

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