Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted finalising Lewis Hamilton’s next Formula 1 contract has been postponed due to the team’s difficult start to 2018 having struggled with its W09 car.

Speculation around Hamilton’s F1 contract situation has continued to circle at recent races with no official confirmation the reigning world champion will re-sign for the German manufacturer.

Both Hamilton and Mercedes boss Wolff have repeated their desire to secure a new deal, rumoured to be a three-year agreement worth £120million, but contract talks have been delayed to allow the team to focus sorting out its issue with its W09 having seen the British driver suffer with unlocking ultimate tyre performance in varying temperatures and conditions.

“We haven’t talked for a few days or weeks because it was so intense in getting our act together with the team and all our priority has been concentrated on that,” Wolff said in Baku. “This is what we do, we are very well aligned in what we expect from each other in the future and it’s just finding the time to sit down.”

Hamilton has echoed his team boss’s comments during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which he went on to win after Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas suffered a cruel late tyre puncture, and says his desire is to remain with the German manufacturer.

“I’m fully committed to Mercedes. I have every plan to be with the team for the future, so everyone’s been about getting on with it,” Hamilton said. “We weren’t planning on doing it after the last race in China as we had a lot on and I was not really around — I think I had one day at the factory, then in China and then I was in the States.

“It’s not a rushed thing. I’ve made it very, very clear and they made it very clear that they want to continue, so it’s quite an easy thing.

“I don’t think either of us have the personality to say, ‘I’m definitely going to be with you next year’ and then not be with them next year, so it’s just about finalising and signing off.”

Hamilton's existing F1 deal with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2018 season having joined the team in 2013 from McLaren. The British driver has secured three of his four F1 world titles with Mercedes while also helping the German manufacturer to four consecutive world constructors' championships.



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