May 21 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Lewis Hamilton deserves what he will earn under the terms of his new Mercedes contract.
That is the opinion of Niki Lauda, who was closely involved in the long negotiations that finally ended on Wednesday with news of a new three-year deal.
Respected media sources say the deal will earn 30-year-old Hamilton at least $100 million, plus more as he has negotiated clauses whereby he can manipulate his own image.
Jenson Button on Wednesday described the figures doing the rounds as “amazing”.
But F1 legend Lauda told Auto Motor und Sport: “The world champions like Vettel, Alonso and Lewis all deserve roughly the same.”
He said the deal took so long to finalise because Hamilton handled the talks himself.
“The main contract was not the problem,” said Lauda. “More difficult were the details about PR appearances, sponsor events, whether he can keep his car at the end of the year.”
Hamilton on Wednesday insisted he did not celebrate with “champagne”, but the New York Post says the Briton has been looking into buying a $30 million penthouse in Lower Manhattan.
And he arrived in Monaco wearing a gold watch and sunglasses.
“I’m not going to go out screaming and yelling like I just got a jump shot from the halfway line,” said Hamilton.
But “I’ve got no fear about justifying the new deal,” he insisted.