Lewis Hamilton targets new Mercedes deal before Formula One summer break

Seven-time world champion and team boss Wolff both hoping to avoid repeating 'stress' of previous contract delay

Lewis Hamilton has said he would like a new deal with Mercedes agreed before the Formula One summer break kicks-in.

Hamilton, 36, is riding on the crest of a wave after winning Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix to solidify his best ever start to a season.

The seven-time world champion has a 14-point cushion over Red Bull's Max Verstappen after winning three of the first four races.

Following his triumph at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, Hamilton signalled his intention to sign his next Mercedes contract before August's three-week summer break.

The Englishman is currently operating on a one-year contract, agreed just six weeks before the new season.

"We don't want to rush anything but I think we have to be sensible and start conversations," Hamilton said after Sunday's triumph.

"They're very complex, so hopefully soon we can start, as long as it doesn't interfere with the actual job."

The delay in his contract talks last year was not planned. He and team boss Toto Wolff wanted to wait until after Hamilton had clinched a record-equalling seventh title. But further delays were caused when they both contracted coronavirus – Hamilton at the start of December and Wolff in the new year.

"We never want to be in the position that we were in January, in February," he said. "It ruined my whole winter and I'm sure it wasn't helpful for Toto's, in terms of being out to be off and relaxed, so it felt like we didn't really have much of a break."

In an interview with the PA news agency, team principal Wolff says he believes Hamilton's next deal will be longer than a 12-month add-on.

"Yes, it should be [more than a year]," he said. "We don't want to be in a stressful situation every single year where we are absolutely flat-out trying to win races and needing to negotiate. I would rather that doesn't happen every year.

"We just need to spend a day or two together, put it out there, and decide which are the difficult components.

"We will then lock the door and won't walk out until it is sorted. That works best for us and it has worked best for us in the past. "

Asked if Hamilton can compete into his 40s, Wolff replied: "Yes, absolutely. I have no doubt about that. He is so disciplined that in a way it is inspiring.

"As long as Lewis continues to look after himself mentally and physically, continues to develop cognitively, then he can go on for much longer.

Meanwhile, shifting focus back on to the track, Hamilton believes he learnt more about title rival Verstappen and the Dutchman's car on Sunday than "all the other races put together".

The reigning world champion spent most of the afternoon behind Verstappen's Red Bull but hunted him down to secure his latest victory.

"It was actually a really good day. I learnt a lot about Max today, perhaps more than all the other races put together. This has been a good one in that sense," the Briton said.

"When you are with people on track you get to see different things and watch closely.

"Obviously I was following relatively closely and I learnt a lot about his car and how he uses it, so it was a good race in that respect."

Updated: May 10, 2021 04:23 PM

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