Mercedes confident Lewis Hamilton will sign a new contract
Toto Wolff expecting "very positive" talks with F1's world champion will soon result in an extended deal from 2019
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 02/02/18 3:06pm
Mercedes believe it is just a matter of time before reigning Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton signs a new contract to re-commit to the team.
Hamilton is out of contract with the Silver Arrows at the end of the year.
But Mercedes have stressed they expect Hamilton to put pen to paper on a new contract and reiterated talks around a new deal - which is likely to make Hamilton the highest-paid British sportsman - are progressing well.
"Lewis has become such an important pillar within the team that it is a no-brainer that we continue with each other," Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said. "The discussions are ongoing and very positive. It is just a matter of time before we seal it and put a signature to the document."
Hamilton to follow Verstappen and Vettel's lead?
While Hamilton is undoubtedly F1's most marketable asset, Mercedes' insouciance about his new deal is a reflection of both their status as F1's dominant superpowers and the shortage of viable options for Hamilton. Red Bull would be an attractive potential destination but for the doubts about their long-term engine prospects while the contract extension Sebastian Vettel signed with Ferrari has effectively closed the door on Hamilton at the Scuderia.
Hamilton's proposed new deal at Mercedes is also expected to make the Englishman the highest-paid driver in the history of F1 with some estimates predicting the four-time world champion will be paid $60m a year.
Hamilton will partner Valtteri Bottas in 2018 after the Finn was handed another one-year deal by the Silver Arrows. Each of the top three teams in the sport in 2017 will start the new campaign with at least one of their drivers out of contract by the end of the year - Kimi Raikkonen's deal at Ferrari already has less than twelve months remaining while Daniel Ricciardo has so far shown no alacrity towards signing a new agreement with Red Bull as he enters the final term of his existing deal.
The extension Vettel signed with Ferrari in August runs until 2020, with Max Verstappen following suit when he re-signed with Red Bull for at least three more seasons in November.
Who is signed up to when at F1's biggest teams?
|Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton - 2018||Valtteri Bottas - 2018|
|Ferrari||Sebastian Vettel - 2020||Kimi Raikkonen - 2018|
|Red Bull||Daniel Ricciardo - 2018||Max Verstappen - 2020|
|Force India||Sergio Perez - 2018||Esteban Ocon - 2018|
|Williams||Lance Stroll - Multi year||Sergey Sirotkin - Multi Year|
|Renault||Nico Hulkenberg - Multi year||Carlos Sainz - Loan|
|McLaren||Fernando Alonso - 2018||Stoffel Vandoorne - 2018+|
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