Lewis Hamilton talks to reporters at the launch of the Mercedes-AMG F1 2018 car at Silverstone. Picture: Tim Goode / PA via AP

Silverstone, Northamptonshire - Four times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes hope to have a new long-term deal wrapped up before the season starts in Australia on 25 March.

Speaking at the launch of the champion's new W09 car at a damp and cold Silverstone circuit, Hamilton, whose current contract expires at the end of the year, indicated the signing could come in a matter of weeks.

"Hopefully we’ll have something done before the beginning of the season, before the start of the first race," he said. "But again, we’re just in no rush. There’s no reason to rush anything, there’s no panic.

"I’m not feeling under any pressure of any other drivers being there, and team Toto and Mercedes have no reason to feel that I’m talking to anybody else."

'The sooner the better'

Wolff said he had spoken to Hamilton regularly by phone and through messaging and hoped to have the deal done within "a few weeks" and "the sooner the better".

"He has been with the team six years," he said, "so we are talking about extending that to a very long time with the same driver in the same team."

Hamilton has been conducting his own negotiations with the team and said in November 2017, after winning his fourth championship in Mexico, that he expected the talks to be straightforward.


He explained on Thursday that he had not been away over the winter and preferred to discuss the detail in person. But he said there was no doubt about his commitment and that of the team.

"In the whole six years that I’ve been here, I’ve not spoken to another team once," he said. "I know the team have been contacted by other drivers in the past, and probably still do today, and that’s inevitable. But we always made it clear at the beginning if that I was to engage and look at my options, I would inform them.

"I’ve not needed to," he added.

Hamilton has won three of his titles with Mercedes, missing out narrowly to now-retired team mate Nico Rosberg in 2016. He is now the most successful British driver in Formula One history and favourite to become only the third five times champion after seven times title holder Michael Schumacher and the late Juan Manuel Fangio.