Wolff not relishing Mercedes contract talks with Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is in the final year of his Mercedes contract, meaning he and team principal Toto Wolff must head to the negotiating table.

Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton face key talks.

Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton face key talks.   -  Getty Images

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits he is not looking forward to new contract discussions with Lewis Hamilton because of their close relationship.

Formula One champion Hamilton, who will target a record-equalling seventh title in 2020, is in the final 12 months of his existing deal.

Most signs point to him staying beyond the new season, despite Hamilton reportedly chasing a hefty pay rise.

He is said to be looking for an increase of around 50 per cent on what is reputed to be a £40million annual salary.

READ | Hamilton says he has not spoken to Mercedes about a new deal

Team principal Wolff said: "The dynamic is very good, we've known each other for such a long time and have the greatest respect for each other.

"Lewis is very aware of where we are as a team and where we are as a motor company.

"Overall, these discussions, we don't like them because we are friends and very close to each other on this joint journey, but it's part of the job."

Wolff said Hamilton and Mercedes will both have ideas about the driver's value.

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Hamilton has been linked with Ferrari in the past, but the Italian team have said it is focused on keeping the partnership of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc for the foreseeable future.

Ahead of the contract talks, Hamilton was quick to praise Wolff's influence, telling Sky Sports: "He's an incredible businessman. I learnt a lot from this man and it's always an exciting moment - it's a real privilege that they want me to stay and be part of a great team, that's a great feeling.

"I hope I can continue to help contribute to the team's success."

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