Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is already thinking about a new contract for Lewis Hamilton – and he doesn’t want it to drag into next winter.
Mercedes and the world champion were locked in negotiations for weeks before Hamilton finally agreed a new one-year deal on the eve of the current season.
Though there are already doubts over where the Brit will be for next year’s racing, with Wolff not wanting the same scenario.
Asked if he wanted Hamilton to stay on at Mercedes next season, Wolff said: “I very much hope so; the journey that we have had together was very successful.
“He has been a Mercedes driver – a Mercedes kid since his go-karting years. He never raced a single weekend in Formula 1 without a Mercedes power unit, so it’s the logical continuation of the story.
“We don’t want to leave it until January to confirm the two drivers. Valtteri [Bottas] was pretty regular during the summer – this is when it should happen. Also, to give the driver peace of mind, or be able to concentrate on the job.
“And obviously for next year there’s lots of balls in the air and we will always try to do the best for the team long-term while also giving total loyalty to our current driver line-up.
"We are not doubting either Valtteri or Lewis but discussions obviously are going to happen – but not in January next year.”
Hamilton won the opening race of the season in Bahrain, finishing less than a second ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
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Hamilton said: "Wow. What a difficult race that was. Stopping early we knew would be difficult but we had to cover Max, they have had an amazing performance all weekend.
“Max was all over me at the end and I was just about able to hold him off. That was one of the hardest races I've had for a while."
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