"No stumbling blocks" in Mercedes contract talks with Hamilton

Toto Wolff says there have been "no stumbling blocks" in negotiations with Lewis Hamilton over a new Mercedes Formula 1 contract, hailing "good talks" so far.

"No stumbling blocks" in Mercedes contract talks with Hamilton

Seven-time F1 world champion Hamilton signed a one-year contract with Mercedes back in February to cover the 2021 season, leading to questions about his future from 2022 onwards.

But Hamilton has shown few signs of considering retirement from F1 or leaving Mercedes, revealing on Thursday that talks over a new contract were now underway and that early discussions were "positive".

Speaking on Sky Sports F1 about Hamilton's future on Friday, Wolff said that talks were going well and that he foresaw no sticking points in negotiations.

"Yeah, pretty laid back because it's going well," Wolff said after opening practice for the Styrian Grand Prix.

"We are discussing. There are no stumbling blocks. I think it's just about agreements, and something that takes a few days longer. Yeah, good talks."

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Hamilton spoke on Thursday about how much he enjoyed working with current teammate Valtteri Bottas, and that he did not "necessarily see that it needs to change".

Bottas is also out of contract at the end of the year, and his future is a point of regular speculation as Mercedes considers promoting junior driver George Russell into its senior squad as a replacement.

Asked if his teammate would be a stumbling block in contract talks, Wolff replied: "No, we have never discussed preferences and not about line-up.

"That's not something that is part of his thinking."

Wolff explained in a press conference shortly after his Sky interview that Mercedes would always be transparent with Hamilton on its driver decisions as it values his opinion.

"When we're talking about drivers, there is nothing we're not sharing with him, it's transparent," Wolff said.

"But the other way around too, when I speak to Valtteri, it's open. When I speak to George, it's very much open because I don't want to have any hidden agendas.

"We need to evaluate the situation for the future. Valtteri had some really good weekends, but he also had some off weekends, and we just need to minimise those.

"Then we will take a decision, and whatever decision we will be taking, Valtteri or George, the person that's involved in that will be hearing that first, and that is the driver."

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