Lewis Hamilton: Talks with Mercedes over new F1 contract are underway

Lewis Hamilton has revealed that talks with Mercedes over a new Formula 1 contract are underway, saying discussions have been “positive” so far.

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Seven-time F1 world champion Hamilton agreed a one-year extension with Mercedes back in February after the COVID-19 pandemic and condensed season hindered a push to open talks sooner in 2020.

Hamilton said last month that he was eager to get a new contract with Mercedes sewn up sooner for 2022, targeting the summer break as a point by which to “have a clear picture of the future”. 

Asked about his contractual situation ahead of this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, Hamilton confirmed that he had began talks over a new deal with Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff.

“We have begun discussions,” Hamilton said. “Not a lot to say, [not] too much on it, we have had discussions and things are positive.”

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Hamilton’s one-year contract extension covering 2021 did raise questions in the winter about his future in F1 beyond this season, but the Briton has shown few signs of looking to exit the series, saying his plans would not depend on whether he won a record-breaking eighth title.

Mercedes is set to face a busy period discussing new driver contracts as both Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas see their current deals expire at the end of the year.

Bottas has been subject to significant speculation about his future amid competition from Mercedes junior George Russell for the seat. Russell has impressed in the past three seasons with Williams, and is a free agent at the end of the year.

Bottas has struggled in the early part of the 2021 season, finishing a race no higher than third and scoring less than half of Hamilton’s points total in the seven rounds so far.

But Hamilton praised Bottas for being “the best teammate overall” he has had in F1, with the pair combining to win the constructors’ title for Mercedes in each of the last four years.

“When I say teammate, it’s not just about driver performance,” Hamilton said. “It’s about team morale, it’s about how you work in the teammate environment.”

Hamilton went on to say that he saw no reason to change the existing line-up at Mercedes.

“Look, Valtteri is my teammate now, and both of us have had ups and downs in our careers,” Hamilton added. “But as I said, I think he is a fantastic teammate, and I don’t necessarily see that it needs to change.”

Hamilton was then asked for “a word on George Russell”, to which he replied: “Doing what?”

After it was clarified that the question was about potentially being his teammate, Hamilton said: “Well he’s not my teammate currently, so I don’t need to say anything else."

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