Mercedes ready for contract talks with Hamilton
By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) - Mercedes can hardly wait for Sunday's Abu Dhabi Formula One title decider to be over so they can tie Lewis Hamilton down to a long-term contract.
The 29-year-old Briton, who can become a double world champion at Yas Marina, has a year remaining on his current deal but Mercedes are looking well beyond that.
"We want him very much to stay for many more years," Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff told reporters ahead of the season-ending race.
"He’s great for the team, he’s part of the family, the relationship we all enjoy is more than just a professional racing relationship between driver and team. It's on a different level."
Hamilton has a 17 point lead over German team mate Nico Rosberg but an unprecedented double points on offer in Abu Dhabi means there is everything to play for.
Rosberg, winner of five races this season to Hamilton's 10, agreed a multi-year contract extension in July.
Wolff said Mercedes had agreed to defer talks with the Briton until after the final race so he could concentrate on his driving.
"We did that very consciously even when the rumors accelerated around other drivers and our team. We sat down again and said "Should we maybe take those conversations forward?" and we decided ‘No, it’s not the best thing to do’. Continued...