Lewis Hamilton uncomfortable with Mercedes contract talks during pandemic

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Lewis Hamilton said he is uncomfortable negotiating a money-spinning Mercedes deal during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hamilton’s £40million-a-year contract is up for renewal in just five months’ time.

But the world champion has parked formal discussions with Formula One’s all-conquering team over an extension to his current deal.

“Honestly, it doesn’t feel like the right time to sit down and talk about it,” said Hamilton, who heads into the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday with a 30-point lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the championship.

“When you think about so many people in the world who have lost their jobs and people who are now unemployed, to sit down and negotiate a big contract doesn’t feel like the most important thing that I need to apply time to at this second.

“I don’t feel comfortable about it so I am going to wait a little bit longer.”

Mercedes announced ahead of this weekend’s race that Bottas will be retained for a fifth season.

Given Mercedes’ imperious dominance, the Finn is providing the sole challenge to Hamilton.

“I do want to continue with this team and it is not a big effort for us to sit down and get it done,” the 35-year-old added. “I am not talking to anyone else.

“I am looking forward to continuing, particularly as we have just started a new chapter of how we educate ourselves and how we understand what we are going to do in terms of being more diverse and more inclusive.

“I am super excited with what is possible with Mercedes and this team moving forward. It will get done at some stage, so I am not stressed.”

Bottas had widely been expected to be retained by Mercedes, particularly after their junior driver George Russell confirmed he will be staying at Williams until the end of next season.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is also on the lookout for a drive in 2021 after being axed by Ferrari, but it is understood he was never in contention to partner Hamilton.

While not on Hamilton’s level, Bottas provides stability at Mercedes, with the team on course for a remarkable seventh straight drivers’ and constructors’ championship double.

“Ever since I fell in love with F1 as a kid it’s been my dream to one day become world champion,” said Bottas.

“I’m in the fight for the title this year and staying with Mercedes puts me in the best possible position to compete for it next season as well.”

Hamilton and team-mate Bottas will race with a horseshoe on the front of their Mercedes machines this weekend in tribute to Sir Stirling Moss.

Moss, who died in April aged 90, competed with the logo during his career, signifying his family’s links to horse riding.

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