Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has given an update on contract negotiations with Lewis Hamilton and hinted at strong progress being made while also revealing what the four-time Formula 1 world champion’s first move away from racing might be.

The reigning F1 world champion’s existing deal with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2018 season but Wolff is confident of securing the British driver on a new multi-year contract which is expected to be confirmed over the next few months.

When quizzed about a new F1 deal at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton was relaxed about negotiations over the winter but underlined his desire only to sign on his terms. Mercedes is eager to keep the “free spirit” F1 world champion and is taking careful attention to provide Hamilton with a deal that satisfies all parties.

“He is a 'frei-geist' - a free spirit - and he wants to keep his options open whether he stays a racing driver in 2019 or becomes a fashion entrepreneur,” Wolff told BBC 5 Live. “We are in negotiations about a new long-term contract and hopefully Lewis can stay with us for many more years.”

“This is the wish of all the parties. He wants to be with us and we would like to keep him obviously but at the same time I think he just needs to have the peace of mind that whatever he decides to do in the future he can do.

"At the moment, he loves F1 and he doesn't want to do anything else and all the rest is hobbies but maybe in two or three or four years down the line he changes.”

Speculation is growing on Hamilton’s new deal which is rumoured to be worth as much as £120m over three years, ensuring the British driver stays at Mercedes until the end of the 2021 season. Hamilton is already Britain’s highest-paid sportsman thanks to his current deal which sees him take in an estimated £30m a year.

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They should offer Hamilton a lot less money. After all, where is he going to go? He can't win the world championship, or even a race, unless he is in the best car, same as the other drivers, and at the moment that is the Mercedes or possibly Ferrari, and they don't want him,

Britains Higest paid sportsman. Wow. Well deserved the guy can beat Vettel when Vettel had the better allround car. Pay him what he wants Mr Wolf the guy can win races whether in a dog like the MP4/24 or a diva like the  W08 , just ask Bottas.

Now he has his ball bag of the year award from 'the last leg' and can only score 4th in his own country's soty award I would think a pay cut - he has had the best car for years anybody can win in that thing.

Botas would have beat Vettel.......??

It would be interesting to see Alonso alongside Hamilton in the Mercedes. Had Nico stayed, Hamilton would not have had a walk to this year's championship. 

Sorry 6th in the soty and now the boy who cried racism turns out to be homophobic - I would urge Merc to think again do they really want this clown representing them.

Wow lot of hammy fans on here. Still it saves thinking for themselves