Motorsport

Published: Friday July 25, 2014 MYT 5:58:16 AM
Updated: Friday July 25, 2014 MYT 5:59:01 AM

Hamilton hopes to agree new deal this year

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton hopes to agree a new deal with Mercedes this season even though his current contract still has more than a year to run.

"I am sure something will happen this year," the 2008 world champion told British reporters at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Thursday. "But now is not the time to really focus on that.

"I’ve made it clear to them that they don't have to worry, I’m not out seeing what else there is for me. Mercedes has been my family since I started Formula One so I don’t see that changing any time soon."

Hamilton has won five of the 10 races so far this year but is still 14 points behind German team mate Nico Rosberg, who has four wins to his credit, ahead of Sunday's race.

Rosberg signed a new multi-year contract with the British-based team last week, ahead of his home grand prix at Hockenheim.

A new deal, if of the same three-year duration as the last, would be worth tens of millions. Media estimates have put the Briton's current salary at around 20 million pounds ($33.97 million) a year.

"I’ve made no secret to both (technical director) Paddy (Lowe) and (Mercedes motorsport head) Toto (Wolff) – we have a very good, open relationship – and I’ve said 'you will be the first to know if I was ever to speak to anyone else'," he said.

"But I’ve said 'there wouldn’t be because I want to be speaking to you'. We spoke about having a chat at some stage but I think they’re quite relaxed as well, as far as I’m aware.

"I’ve shown an interest in sitting down and talking. We haven’t sat down yet, but the team know I’d like to push to continue, and they have made clear they would like to do the same," said Hamilton.

The driver started his career with Mercedes-powered McLaren in 2007 and has been backed by the German manufacturer since he was 13-years-old.

He joined the Mercedes team in 2013 and the heavily tattooed driver said he felt like he had "Mercedes imprinted on my chest".

The 29-year-old dismissed with a shrug speculation that Mercedes were also interested in signing four times world champion Sebastian Vettel, who has been having a difficult season, from Red Bull.

"I am not concerned about that," he said. "Ultimately if the team wanted him in the car, that's their decision. I don't have any feelings about it. There will always be a place for every driver and what will be, will be.

"But I feel like I'm very much part of the family here. I'm not knocking on Toto's door or Paddy's to get something done because I have faith in them and I think hopefully they have faith in me.

"I would wish to continue with them and I think they hopefully want to do the same with me."

Hamilton is a favourite to win in Hungary, having done so for the last two years and four times in total. Another win would break the record he currently shares with Michael Schumacher.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)

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