MAY 22, 2015
Hamilton contract a blow for Rosberg
Lewis Hamilton's new contract is a psychological blow to Nico Rosberg, according to F1 legend Alain Prost.
Earlier this week, Mercedes announced a new three-year contract for Hamilton, the reigning world champion. Multiple sources estimated the deal at up to an incredible $50 million per season -- and possibly more.
That would utterly dwarf the money being made by teammate Rosberg.
When asked about that, the German driver said in Monaco: "I haven't seen the numbers and I haven't read what's been written. But I am very happy with my contract, for sure."
However, it is believed Hamilton's new pay-raise means the 30-year-old Briton is earning five times more than even Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche.
"I can't even comment on that question," team boss Toto Wolff said in Monaco. "This is a market and in that market you have a value or you don't.
"Lewis is one of the best racing drivers out there, maybe the best at the moment and he has a huge value for the brand and fundamentally this is what drives his value and this is a classical win-win situation for the team and for himself," he added.
As for Rosberg, however, quadruple world champion Prost expects a disadvantage, even if Hamilton has not been granted traditional 'number 1' status.
"But in a way," said Prost, "the money is a sign of that (status)," he told the German daily Der Tagesspiegel.
"If he is earning a lot more, then that means that the team values him higher," he explained.
"In addition to the technical side, the human aspect is also very important in formula one. So if there is a preference on the human side, you can feel that as a driver," said Prost.
The 60-year-old also said he senses that Hamilton is much closer to Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda than is Rosberg.
"That could be a problem for Nico," said Prost. "He will not be technically disadvantaged, but he has this disadvantage in his mind.
"It may be small, but it can make all the difference."