Lewis Hamilton may not have won the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship this past Sunday, but he certainly grabbed the headlines by ignoring team orders and bookmaker Ladbrokes is wondering if the bust-up could lead to him leaving Mercedes in the coming months.
Hamilton’s late-season surge proved to be in vain as Nico Rosberg wrapped up his first world championship by finishing second in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but all the talk after the race was about the British driver’s decision to ignore instructions from his team to driver faster.
Hamilton was leading when the team ordered him to pick up the pace, but the 31-year-old knew that a race win was not enough because he still needed Rosberg to finish outside of the top three, so he told the team to “let us race” and stuck with his attempt to back the second-placed German into the chasing field.
In the wake of the race a spokesperson for Mercedes admitted the team will have to “figure out the way forward” and bookmaker Ladbrokes
is wondering if that way forward is getting rid of the former world champion in the off-season.
Ladbrokes is now 16/1 that Hamilton does not drive for Mercedes in 2017.
“Mercedes were less than impressed with Lewis' tactics in Abu Dhabi,” Ladbrokes’ Richard Marsh told Bettingpro.com. “And despite all the success they've shared, we can't rule out a split before the new season gets underway in March.”
The bookmaker is also offering odds on future success for Hamilton – whether he is with the Silver Arrows or not – and it is 2/1 that the three-time world champion retires with exactly five titles, while the firm has gone 100/1 about the British ace winning eight or more world championships.
Ladbrokes latest betting
Lewis Hamilton specials
Not to drive for Mercedes in 2017 - 16/1
To equal Michael Schumacher's 7 world titles - 16/1
To beat Michael Schumacher's 91 GP victories - 12/1
Lewis Hamilton world titles
Exactly 3 - 3/1
Exactly 4 - 7/4
Exactly 5 - 2/1
Exactly 6 - 6/1
Exactly 7 - 16/1
8 or more - 100/1
To win the most world titles
Lewis Hamilton - 4/7
Max Verstappen - 6/4
Nico Rosberg - 20/1