Hamilton relaxed about Mercedes future, expects talks 'in the coming months'

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Lewis Hamilton isn't thinking about contract talks with Mercedes for now, saying he and Toto Wolff will sit down "in the coming months".

Speculation over the future of the six-time Formula 1 champion increased towards the end of last year, after it emerged Hamilton had met with Ferrari chairman John Elkann.

But since Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen signed new contracts at their respective teams, the tone coming from the Briton has suggested a renewal is all-but-certain.

"I don't know when we're going to sit down and talk, I don't see a particular rush," Hamilton told the media in Barcelona on Thursday. "I think our goals are aligned. In the coming months, I'm sure we'll sit down.

"I know Toto is keen to, but right now the focus is ensuring you're fit and ready for the season, it ramps up and you just want to start on the right foot, so it's not something I really get bogged down with for a period of time.

"As a team, we're always very clear on our plans, we update each other quite often in terms of our thinking, so none of us gets crazy with thoughts of other conversations happening elsewhere."

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If a new deal is reached it will be the fourth Lewis has signed with Mercedes since joining from McLaren back in 2013, the last coming back in 2018.

"The last time we just sat on my couch and we just shoot the shit basically," he recalled.

"He tries to ask for something and I combat it. It's back and forth, it was like eight or 10 hours the last time we sat down and we got through it great.

"Then it goes back to kind of the bad cops, which are the lawyers, but we just don't seem to have any problems. I think we share the same values, our goals are the same, and respect is huge.

"Naturally, from a driver's perspective, you are always trying to maximise as many areas as possible whilst continuing to deliver. So it goes on. It's a good chat, that's for sure."

Given Hamilton is now the second-oldest driver on the grid at 35, it isn't beyond the realms of possibility this could be the final contract he negotiates before retiring from F1.

And he admits thoughts about what comes next in his life will be a factor in talks as will the ability to continue his non-F1 activities.

"It's the small detail that really matters," he said. "I've been really fortunate with this team. People always talk about freedom as if it's a bad thing, but it's not at all.

"Joining Mercedes, they've allowed me to be who I want to be, rather than keeping me constricted and asking me to be a certain way, speak a certain way, dress a certain way, which is often what you see in other places. It's been great.

"There were all these question marks about all the different things that I do, but everyone has seen the results I've had the last few years.

"It continues to prove that it's actually encouraging, it helps me be more engaged, to be an even better driver than I thought I could be.

"So in going into the finer detail, you're trying to figure out what the next five-to-10-year plan is, and how the decisions I make now impact the future," he acknowledged.

"Does it allow me to put certain things in place so when I do stop and hang up my helmet I'm able to continue on to other things.

"That will be in the small print of what we talk about, but that's the one we will probably be talking mostly about."