The Briton only signed a one-year extension to remain with Mercedes until the end of the 2021 season, but he is widely expected to continue in F1 for at least one more year.

Last month, Hamilton outlined his desire to seal a new contract with Mercedes before the summer break in August as both parties look to avoid a repeat of the prolonged negotiations that spilled over into this year.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, Hamilton confirmed that discussions over a renewed deal have started and have so far been “positive”.

“We have begun discussions,” Hamilton said. “Not a lot to say, [not] too much on it, we have had discussions and things are positive.”

Speculation over who will partner Hamilton at Mercedes next season remains rife, with Valtteri Bottas facing an uncertain future after a disappointing start to 2021.

The Finn is out of contract at the end of the year and Mercedes is currently weighing up whether to retain Bottas or replace him with its protege and current Williams driver George Russell.

Hamilton was complimentary about Bottas when he faced the media at the Red Bull Ring on Thursday, saying: “I think Valtteri has been the best teammate overall, and when I say teammate it is not just about drive performance.

“It is about team morale, how you work in a team mate environment, and we’ll continue to improve on our communication and hopefully do better moving forwards.”

Asked specifically if he would like to see Bottas stay, Hamilton replied: “Valtteri is my team mate now and both of us have had ups and downs in our careers.

“But like I said, he’s a fantastic team-mate and I don’t necessarily see that it needs to change.”