Lewis Hamilton says the reason behind a lack of progress over a renewed Formula 1 deal with Mercedes is down to the fact “it doesn’t feel like the right time” to negotiate “a big contract”.

The six-times world champion is widely expected to sign a fresh deal to remain with Mercedes into 2021 and beyond, after the German manufacturer confirmed it had agreed a contract extension for next season with Valtteri Bottas on Thursday.

Speaking to media ahead of this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Hamilton cited the global crisis caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as one of the main reasons behind why he is yet to open discussions over a new deal, insisting it is a question of time - rather than if - he will renew with Mercedes.

Hamilton, who is already the best-paid driver in F1, recently refuted "made-up" reports which claimed he was holding out for an inflated salary before putting pen to paper on a new contract with Mercedes. He has since stressed he he plans to remain in the sport for "at least another three years"

“Honestly it doesn’t feel like the right time to sit down,” Hamilton said when asked why he is yet to discuss new terms with Mercedes.

"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 think that I need to apply time to right this second.

"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.

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

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Hamilton currently leads teammate Bottas by 30 points in the championship and believes the Finn is fully-deserving of his contract renewal.

“I think consistency is always a good thing for a team and Valtteri has always had a positive influence on the team over these five years,” he said.

"He’s trustworthy and does an incredible job on the track. He’s a great teammate to all the people in the team, so I think it’s a tribute to all the hard work he has done.”

 

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