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F1’s Hamilton on new Mercedes contract: It’ll get done when it’s done

AP – Mercedes had hoped to have an update on a contract extension for seven-time Formula One (F1) champion Lewis Hamilton (pic below) by the time the series arrived at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Despite ongoing talks, Hamilton said on Thursday in Montreal he had no update on his future. He had been scheduled to meet with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who had hinted a resolution was imminent.

Hamilton, who turned 38 in January and is seeking a multi-year extension, played coy as to how talks have progressed.

Asked if he and Wolff had “hooked up” as scheduled, the British driver tried to brush it off.
“We’ve never hooked up,” Hamilton deadpanned.

The moderator then clarified to ask if the boss and driver had met for a pizza.
“We’ve never had pizza,” he replied.

On the third attempt, Hamilton sort of acknowledged contract talks had happened with no deal struck. “I’ve seen Toto, we’ve talked several times,” said Hamilton. “Yeah. Nothing else real to really add to it.”

PHOTO: AFP

It was far less information than Wolff had offered last week during a CNBC interview when asked about Hamilton’s future.

“It is going to happen soon, and we are talking more days than weeks,” Wolff said on the Squawk on the Street programme.

“We have such a good relationship that we dread the moment that we need to talk about money. From a team’s perspective, Lewis and Mercedes have gone back a long time.

“We both joined the team in 2013 together, and from a professional relationship, we now have a friendship. It has been a wonderful time,” Wolff continued.

“He is the most important personality in the sport. He is so multi-faceted, not only the racing, but also off track, so we need to keep him in the sport for as long as possible.”

Hamilton started his career with McLaren, which was Mercedes-powered, in 2007.

He made the move to the Mercedes team in 2013 and has scored 82 of his record 103 F1 victories driving the Silver Arrows. Hamilton has won six of his seven championships with Mercedes.

He’s in the final year of his existing contract and has insisted he wants to extend his career and stay with Mercedes, despite persistent rumors he’s being courted by Ferrari. The Canadian Grand Prix had been circled as a celebratory spot to announce a contract extension because it’s both the site of Hamilton’s first career F1 victory back in 2007, and, his seven wins at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is tied with Michael Schumacher for most in F1 history.

Not having it buttoned down on that timeline did not bother Hamilton.

“I don’t really have a huge amount to say on the contract side of things,” Hamilton said.

“It’ll get done when it’s done. If that’s next week, if that’s in a month’s time, as long as it gets done it doesn’t really bother me.”

Despite the lack of news on his contract, he remained upbeat about Mercedes’ recent performance, which included a surprise 2-3 podium finish for Hamilton and teammate George Russell in Spain two weeks ago.

“We’ve been making progress in the car and last race was just phenomenal, we’ve all been buzzing back at the factory, the whole team just has this new energy and it kind of feels like we have a North Star,” Hamilton said.

“We know where we’re going, we know how to get there, so everyone’s just churning away and working as hard as possible.

“I’m excited coming here. We generally don’t know whether this track suits our car and the car’s characteristics but the weather may change that and we’ll see.”

Meanwhile, Red Bull enters the Canadian Grand Prix a perfect 7-0 this season and is seeking its 100th victory tomorrow.

For Max Verstappen, the defending race winner, a victory would be the 41st of his career and tie him with the late Ayrton Senna for fifth on F1’s all-time win list.

“Max has been doing an amazing job, he’s had such an incredible career so far and he’s for sure going to surpass that,” Hamilton said. “We’re working on (our) car so we can slow him down.”

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