Entertainment Max Verstappen ‘turned down Mercedes' leaving Lewis Hamilton as only option - Schumacher
Details emerge of unusual Lewis-Max discussion
Toto Wolff and Christian Horner’s fractious relationship is clearly not extending to drivers Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. © PA Images Lewis Hamilton Max Verstappen PA That has been evidenced by details of a behind-the-scenes exchange between the two World Championship contenders after the French Grand Prix. Minutes earlier, Verstappen had caught and passed Hamilton on the penultimate lap to win at Paul Ricard and extend his lead in the Drivers’ standings to 12 points.
Lewis Hamilton signing a new two-year contract at Mercedes indicated that Max Verstappen turned them down, according to Ralf Schumacher. The Briton has extended his stay at the Silver Arrows until the end of 2023.
Hamilton and Verstappen are fighting for the title this season as Red Bull look to end the dominance of Mercedes.
The 36-year-old won the British Grand Prix last time out after colliding with his rival to reduce the deficit to just eight points in the Drivers' Championship.
Mercedes also closed the gap on Red Bull who failed to score a single point at Silverstone.
Max Verstappen warned over two Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes threats ahead of British GP
Mika Hakkinen has suggested that Lewis Hamilton could mount a resurgence at this month's British Grand Prix.Verstappen has taken the chequered flag on five occasions this season and will be hoping to pip Hamilton to a sixth victory at Silverstone.
Schumacher has a theory on Hamilton signing a new deal for his current team though and believes they really wanted Verstappen.
"For me, that extension mainly means that Max has turned down Mercedes," Schumacher told.
"I think Mercedes had put all their hopes on capturing Max for that cockpit, in order to fully secure their future.
"That idea is now gone, and in my eyes Lewis was the only alternative."
Schumacher gave his verdict on the title race so far and is curious to see if Mercedes can have a stronger second half of the season.
He added: "Now I'm curious if Mercedes can turn it around, because Red Bull still has a lot behind them, and certainly hasn't shown everything yet.
Lewis Hamilton wins British GP but is accused of ‘dirty driving’ after 180mph crash
Hamilton was handed a 10-second penalty but was still able to win the British Grand Prix.Hamilton was handed a 10-second penalty after he dived down Verstappen’s inside on the entry to Copse. Hamilton’s front wing made contact with Verstappen’s rear tyre, which sent the Red Bull driver spinning into a tyre barrier at a 51G impact.
"It will really come down to a duel between Hamilton and Verstappen.
"I hope nobody gets hurt.
"Hamilton and Verstappen remind me more and more of Senna and Prost, the way they treated each other."
There have been suggestions Red Bull could appeal the 10-second time penalty given to Hamilton at Silverstone as they don't feel it is severe enough.
"There are rights that are available to us, but I think unfortunately the result...the stewards are pretty set in their decision," said Horner.
"I think it will be meaningless to take things further, but we'll look at it. We'll talk it through shortly but that would be my initial reaction."
Yet, when asked if he had any concerns, Wolff told Autosport: "This is Formula 1. None of that worries me."
F1 returns with the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, August 1.
Lewis Hamilton targeted by racist abuse after Max Verstappen crash at British Grand Prix .
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen collided on the opening lap of Sunday's British Grand Prix, leading to the Brit receiving vile racist abuse.The seven-time world champion received comments showing gorilla and monkey emojis on a recent Instagram post in the wake of his victory.