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Sports Lewis Hamilton's contract situation still shrouded in uncertainty

20:50  24 may  2018
20:50  24 may  2018 Source:   thescore.com

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LEWIS HAMILTON has hit back at the critics who questioned why he has not yet signed a new Mercedes contract . However, Hamilton says he is “super relaxed” over the situation and he will not sign a deal just because people want him to.

A new contract was due for completion before the opening race in Melbourne. We are still waiting for any progress and one theory is Lewis Hamilton will retire. The British driver should resolve his situation and uncertainty ahead of Barcelona.

a close up of a person© Aly Song / REUTERS

MONACO (AP) Although Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes management are not saying precisely what is holding up his new deal, others think they know.

Hamilton's contract runs out this year.

The defending F1 champion has been elusive about when he will sign the new one - reportedly worth a staggering 120 million pounds ($160 million) over three years - while head of motorsport Toto Wolff hasn't given a date either.

''I can only imagine that a delay can only involve money. And I should think it's such a grotesque amount of money that Toto's talking about, it probably is what's making his eyes water,'' Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said on Thursday.

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Defending Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has signed a new contract to remain with Mercedes, and the deal makes him one of the four highest-paid athletes alive.

''(Hamilton's) got an expensive lifestyle. He's a four-time world champion and I doubt he's cheap. I can only envisage that that's probably got something to do with the delay.''

When asked about the contract on Wednesday, Hamilton was casual-sounding about not being rushed, saying ''if it's not ready this week, and it's not ready the week after, (then) it's not ready.''

Hamilton gives the impression he alone decides when to sign. Wolff says this is not so, yet gives no deadline.

''This is work in progress and we see no hurry to pressurize each other into signing a document that will eventually happen anyway,'' Wolff said. ''It is in the process of just closing. There is a bit of email pingpong on details. I don't want to set a date because then you will be asking, `Why hasn't it been done?'''

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We still need some details from you Lewis Hamilton : Toto Wolff gives huge update on Mercedes contract talks. F1 news: Felipe Massa CONFIRMS return to racing and is set for test at end of May.

‘ Lewis is the best driver of the modern generation,’ said Toto Wolff, Hamilton ’ s team principal. ‘So of course, I’d like to keep him with us for as long as possible. But he has at least one more contract in him after this next one and Ferrari remain an attraction for every driver.

There is uncertainty surrounding the future of other F1 drivers, too.

Hamilton's Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, is fighting for a new deal next season, and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo is considering his options for 2019. McLaren is hoping two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso stays, while Ferrari must decide whether to stick with Kimi Raikkonen. The veteran Finnish driver turns 39 in October, but has started the season well.

Hamilton has also spoken in the past of his fondness for Ferrari, prompting speculation he could drive alongside Vettel next season.

''I wouldn't mind,'' Vettel said when asked if he would like Hamilton for a teammate. He added: ''I'm pretty sure that Lewis' priority lies with Mercedes. Everything else would be a big surprise.''

Hamilton joked that a move to Ferrari ''wouldn't happen'' because Vettel has a veto on who joins.

Red Bull and McLaren, meanwhile, face uncertainty over their drivers.

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Hamilton is out of contract with the Silver Arrows at the end of the year. But Mercedes have stressed they expect Hamilton to put pen to paper on a new contract and reiterated talks around a new deal - which is likely to make Hamilton Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton - 2018. Valtteri Bottas - 2018. Ferrari.

Toto Wolff is keen to hold on to Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton beyond 2015.

As well as driving for McLaren this season, Alonso will race in the famed Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race in June. In January, he took part in the 24 Hours at Daytona. Last year, the 36-year-old Spaniard skipped Monaco to race in the Indianapolis 500, and plans to race in it again.

''It's usually around the summer time that things start really taking shape,'' McLaren executive director Zak Brown said. ''Fernando will let us know what he wants to do pretty soon.''

Ricciardo has been linked with Mercedes and Ferrari, with both teams offering him a more powerful car unless Red Bull improves.

''Daniel is fully aware that we (want) to make the best choices for the future regarding the power unit (engine),'' Horner said. ''He is very comfortable in the team. So once the engine scenario is sorted I think things will move reasonably quickly.''

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More AP auto racing: https://racing.ap.org

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Jerome Pugmire on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jeromepugmire

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