Lewis Hamilton confirms contract talks underway as Mercedes eager not to ‘fall into trap’

Lewis Hamilton's 'natural ability is fantastic' says Button

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Lewis Hamilton has confirmed that contract negotiations are underway with Mercedes regarding his future in Formula One as the Briton eyes up an eighth world title this season.

Earlier in the year, Hamilton set a deadline for talks to begin, saying it would be ‘sensible’ to ‘start conversations’ to seal a new contract with Mercedes before F1’s summer break.

Contract talks were lengthy at the end of last season and dragged into the start of 2021, yet Mercedes said the delays were ideal, with a disrupted end to the F1 season – in which both Hamilton and team principal Toto Wolff contracted COVID-19.

However, this year Wolff vowed not to let contract negotiations drag on with Hamilton, with delays last time leading to the Brit being out of a job at one point.

Speaking to F1.com, Hamilton admitted: “We are hoping to get it done much faster than we did last time; we don’t want to fall into the same trap.

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“And it’s quite chilled as well – we always talked about not wanting to do it mid-season because it would be a distraction – but we’ve done it in a way that it’s light-hearted.

“It’s not intense, it’s not causing trouble, and good communication as always with Toto [Wolff, Team Principal]. So I hope we have something soon.”

Speaking ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix, Hamilton also hinted he felt no need for a switch of team-mates.

Rumours have been swirling regarding both Hamilton’s contract and who might partner him at the team next season, with many suggesting Valtteri Bottas’ time is up at Mercedes and that George Russell is set to replace the Finn.

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Fuel was added to the fire to the end of last season, as Russell impressed whilst stepping in for Hamilton, who was recovering from COVID-19, during the penultimate race of 2020.

Hamilton said: “We have begun discussions, and, not a lot to say – just we have had discussions and things are positive so… and yes, Valtteri is my team-mate now, and both of us have had ups and downs in our careers, but as I said he is a fantastic team-mate and I don’t necessarily think that needs to change.”

When pushed by Tom Clarkson in the FIA’s F1 press conference on Thursday for a word on Russell as a viable option, Hamilton replied “Doing what?”

Clarkson responded: “Being your team-mate?”

“Well, he’s not my team-mate currently, so I don’t need to say anything on that,” responded the Brit.

Hamilton is looking to claw back the lead of the championship this weekend, with Max Verstappen leading the way by 12 points.

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