The seven-time world champion only signed a one-year deal with Mercedes in February following prolonged talks, casting doubts over his F1 future beyond the end of the current season.

But speaking ahead of this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix on Thursday, Hamilton said he “plans” to remain in F1 after carrying out a rare voluntary test of Pirelli’s 18-inch wheels that will be introduced in 2022.

"There’s still a lot of work to do within this sport and I know that being here, I have more chance of helping change that then not so that’s something I’m looking to do,” Hamilton added.

“I don’t know how long I can stay but we’ll see.”

Wolff, who has made it clear that Mercedes and Hamilton would not repeat last year’s drawn-out negotiations that dragged on into the winter, is planning to get talks with his star driver underway shortly.

“We learned our lesson that we wouldn’t leave it until the Christmas holidays, that was definitely taking it too far,” Wolff said after qualifying in Portugal.

“I think we are in a very good place and our relationship is growing stronger every year. It’s about time to give it a little nudge and start to speak and this is what we are going to do soon.”

Should Hamilton decide to continue, Mercedes is set to have a difficult decision to make regarding its second seat, with Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes protege and Williams driver George Russell both out of contract at the end of the year.

Asked what it will come down to when deciding between Bottas and Russell if Hamilton were to stay, Wolff replied: “I hope one day that I wake up and it becomes clear.

“I think we need to look into the season and how the next races unfold and then it is a judgement call I believe. Not a very scientific response but I haven’t got any at the moment.”

 

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