Lewis Hamilton insists he and Mercedes have no need to rush new contract for 2016
World Champion tells Sky F1 he isn't talking to any other team and "confident and trusts" Mercedes doing likewise; Hamilton into final 12 months of his original three-year deal
By Pete Gill and James Galloway
Last Updated: 21/01/15 8:13pm
A relaxed Lewis Hamilton says he has full faith that he’ll reach an agreement with Mercedes about signing a new contract despite already entering the final year of his current three-year deal with the Silver Arrows.
Hamilton’s contract with the world champions expires at the end of 2015 and the two parties are yet to formally open talks over an extension. But after Mercedes’ 2014 domination culminated in Hamilton claiming his second F1 world title in November, there is an understandable will from both sides to extend their successful alliance.
Hamilton, back in Europe ahead of next week's Jerez test after his winter training camp in Colorado, says he isn’t talking to any other teams and doesn't think Mercedes' management are courting any other drivers.
“As soon as I left the last race, I was at the factory for a couple of days, but I haven’t sat down with the team,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1’s David Croft at a sponsor event for IWC Schaffhausen in Geneva.
“But, again, we said last year we’re not in a rush. We’re relaxed. The team have acknowledged they want to continue with me and vice versa, so there is no stress.
“I’m comfortable and confident and trust that they’re not speaking to anyone else and they know that’s the case with me.”
While negotiations are still likely to be protracted given the complexity of modern-day F1 contracts, the prospect of Hamilton departing Mercedes next year already seems remote. While the Briton is widely recognised as the fastest driver in the sport, Mercedes are expected to remain at the front of the field when the new season begins on March 15.
The Briton won 11 races in 2015, by far and away his best season in F1 to date, including six of the final seven events as he delivered emphatic proof of his pace and pedigree. But Hamilton, who turned 30 in the midst of a three-week break in Colorado, is adamant he still has room – and races – in which to improve next season.
“I don’t think about anyone’s expectations. For myself, naturally, and as an athlete I always want to be the best that I can be. So anything less than what I did last year is not going to be good enough," he said.
“But I can be better. There are going to be 20 races this year, there were eight races that I didn’t win [in 2014], so you can always get better.
“I plan to drive the way I drove last year but hopefully with the knowledge and experience of last year and the growth, with turning 30 and everything. Whether it’s an inch, a foot, a metre or a mile, I want to try and make sure I’m always moving forward.”
Hamilton’s winter shutdown - “I completely switched off” - has extended to the Englishman being largely in the dark about Mercedes’ new car. But he’ll know all about the car on which his hopes of a third title are largely dependent soon enough. The first pre-season test takes place in less than two weeks with Hamilton scheduled to drive the W06 for the first time on February 2.
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary of all three winter tests, starting in Jerez on February 1, with live updates from trackside also on Sky Sports News HQ.