Hamilton says contract discussions with Mercedes “have begun”

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Lewis Hamilton says him and Mercedes have begun contract discussions and backs Valtteri Bottas to remain his team-mate beyond 2021.

At the Styrian Grand Prix Thursday press conference Lewis Hamilton gave an update on his contract negotiations with Mercedes.

“We have begun discussions,” said the Briton.

“Not a lot to say but we have started discussions and things are positive.”

He also backed Valtteri Bottas to remain his team-mate.

“Valtteri is my team-mate now and both of us have had our ups and downs in our careers. He is a fantastic team-mate and I don’t necessarily see that it needs to change.”

With rumours swirling around that Bottas could be replaced by Mercedes junior driver George Russell, Lewis was asked to give “a word” on the young Briton.

“Well he’s not my team-mate currently so I don’t need to say anything,” Hamilton replied.

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Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were seemingly at the top of their game when it comes to team-work at the French Grand Prix, and Lewis admits Mercedes could make some improvements in that regard.

“I think we can always make improvements, for sure. If you look at the Red Bulls, of course, I saw the video of Sergio and Max.

“A few seconds later it could have been mid-corner and they would have lost more time so it was just a perfect time that he happened to meet him on track and I guess potentially a little bit different from in Barcelona.

“We will continue to work well as a team, we have worked well as a team for many years. As I have always said, Valtteri has been the best team-mate overall.

“When I say team-mate, it is not just about driver performance, it is about team morale, it is about how you work in the team-mate environment.

“We will continue to improve on our communication and hopefully do better,” concluded Hamilton.

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