‘Committed’ Hamilton hopes for pre-season contract extension with Mercedes

Johannesburg: Putting an end to uncertainty regarding his future with Mercedes, four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has hinted that a new deal with the Silver arrows could be announced before the first race in Australia.

Though the British driver’s current contract set to expire at the end of the 2018 season, Hamilton said that he is not interest in joining any other team and is committed to extend his stint at Brackley beyond the end of the season.

“In the whole six years that I’ve been here, I’ve not spoken to another team once.I think that really shows my commitment. I know that the team have been contacted by other drivers in the past and probably still do today and that’s inevitable,” Sport24 quoted Hamilton, as saying.

Speaking at the launch of Mercedes’ new W09 car at Silverstone, Hamilton said that he had already made it clear to his current Formula One team that he is not considering any other options outside Mercedes.

“But we always made it clear at the beginning that if I was to engage and look at my options that I would inform them. I’ve not needed to because I haven’t,” he said.

The 33-year-old further revealed that he had spoken about his commitment towards Mercedes beyond 2018 with team boss Toto Wolff and that both of them are relaxed about the ongoing contract negotiations.

“Toto and I have spoken very often and we talk about how committed we are. He knows there is no one else better so he is not looking anywhere else, and I know there is nowhere else better. It is just talking about the details. Hopefully, we will have something done before the first race, but there is no panic,” he said.

Earlier, Wolff had said that Mercedes and Hamilton had entered negotiations over a new contract which would keep the driver at the team until 2021.

The new F1 season will kick start in Australia on March 25.