Lewis Hamilton says he doesn’t “really feel pressured” by the prospect of having to enter yet more contract talks about his Formula 1 future this year.

After months of intense speculation, Hamilton finally agreed a new one-year extension to his Mercedes deal in February, just five weeks before the start of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

The deal came after a series of delays - put down to a condensed season, the focus on winning both world championships, and then Hamilton contracting COVID-19 - which only acted to further fuel rumours.

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Hamilton’s decision to only put pen to paper on a one-year deal will undoubtedly spark another huge bout of media interest throughout the 2021 season, with his commitment to F1 beyond the end of the year currently unknown.

But the 36-year-old Briton insists he will not be distracted by his contract situation as he bids to break Michael Schumacher’s all-time record by winning an eighth drivers’ crown this season.

"Time will tell, it's not like it's my first rodeo," he said when asked if he feels talk about his future could became a distraction for him.

"I think I've been in this position where at least I've been asked the question for a period of time. I don't really feel pressured in that sense.

“I have continued to have a huge belief and always bet on myself, in terms of I know what it takes to deliver.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff stressed he has “no doubts” about Hamilton’s commitment to F1, while Hamilton has made it clear that winning an eighth title won’t be the “deciding factor” in whether he continues to race in 2022 or not.

Speaking at the launch of Mercedes’ W12 challenger, Hamilton explained his thought-process behind only signing a one-year deal, highlighting the “fortunate position” he finds himself in of not needing to look too far ahead due to the achievements he has already racked up.

Rather than his focus solely being lasered on success on-track, Hamilton has found a new driving force of inspiration in his continued push for greater diversity and fight against racism.

"I have an extraordinary relationship with Mercedes that is incredibly deep, and it’s more than just racing that we will end up doing together,” he said. “As you've already seen, with this foundation, there are a lot of great things that we will do moving forwards.

"That will be a constant discussion through the year I'm sure. And in terms of whether this is where I want to continue if this is the road I want to continue down? It will come to me, I'm sure.

"I'm fully invested in this season and in delivering,” he added. “I still love what I do. I'm just generally in a fortunate position where I don't have to commit to multiple years, so I chose to have a one-year deal.

“That way I can see how the year goes and where we are at mid-year, or towards the end of the year. But it doesn’t mean I’m not committed - I’m still very, very committed to the sport.

“What I’m really focused on is… I think there was a lot of great discussion around this diversity issue and it still remains an issue to this day and it’s not going to change overnight. But what’s really important is to make sure that we are actually delivering and actually taking action.

“So that’s kind of my driving force this year too: to make sure that we continue to push for accountability, and top of that hopefully I can deliver some good performances.”

Hamilton was unusually quiet on his social media accounts this winter and did not draw much attention to either receiving a knighthood or his new F1 deal.

Asked why he had taken such a low-key approach, Hamilton said it did not feel right to be “celebrating things” while the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt around the world.

“I continue to be kind of conscious of what’s happening in the world,” he explained. “Posting pictures and celebrating things, such as a contract being signed, is kind of not really important to me.

“And that’s not really a message that I want to be sending out to people who are losing families, who are losing relatives still, who are struggling in a pandemic. That’s just not where I’m at.

“So I just kind of kept to myself. I was focused on my recovery because it wasn’t a quick situation and getting myself back to full strength, and getting the deal done, and working on some personal relationships that I have.”