Hamilton uncomfortable discussing big-money Mercedes deal amid global job losses

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Lewis Hamilton says he feels uncomfortable negotiating a big-money Mercedes deal while people are losing their jobs around the world.

Earlier this week, the Brackley-based team confirmed Valtteri Bottas will remain for another year at least in 2021, while the six-time world champion is expected to sign a multi-year deal after recently voicing a desire to stay in Formula 1 for three more seasons at least.

Amid reports though that Hamilton is demanding another salary increase, which he has denied, the Briton instead says he's delaying talks as he doesn't consider them a priority during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

“Honestly it doesn’t feel like the right time to sit down,” the 35-year-old said on Thursday.

"When you think about so many people in the world who have lost their jobs, people are unemployed… To then sit and negotiate a big contract, it just doesn’t seem like the most important thing that I need to apply time to right this second."

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Hamilton though did make it clear he would be remaining at Mercedes for next season and beyond.

"The fact is that I do want to continue with this team and it’s not a big effort for us to sit down and get it done. It’s just right now I don’t feel comfortable with it and I want to wait a little bit longer," Lewis continued.

“I’m not talking to anybody else, I’m looking forward to continuing a new chapter with the team in terms of how we educate ourselves and what we are going to do to help be more diverse and inclusive moving forwards. 

“So I’m super excited about what is possible to do with Mercedes-Benz and this team moving forwards. At some stage it will get done, I’m not stressed.”

Also asked about Hamilton's future, team boss Toto Wolff was calm over a deal citing the "fundamental base of trust between us".

But at a time when drivers have had to take pay cuts due to the impact of Covid-19, the Austrian flatly rejected to talk about the money.

“This is a very direct question, which I don’t want to comment [upon],” he said. “Lewis has been a very important part of the team.

"We recognise his driving ability, his behaviour and culture within the team, we enjoy his global presence, we respect his opinion on the various topics that are close to his heart and if you look at the impact that he has on Formula 1, not only with him driving exceptionally, he was always worth the expectations in terms of salary, which we respect.

“Now, the world has changed a lot, we face difficult times and all that and Lewis completely understands that and we will discuss what that means," Toto would acknowledge.

“I don’t want to lay out financial terms here because it’s truly a matter only between Lewis and I and as we have both expressed we will continue to race with each other – best driver and best team – and come to a solution in whatever amount of time.”