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Lauda expects Rosberg to agree new deal at Mercedes

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Formula One - Monaco Grand Prix - Monaco - 26/5/16. Mercedes F1 driver Nico Rosberg attends the first practice. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Formula One - Monaco Grand Prix - Monaco - 26/5/16. Mercedes F1 driver Nico Rosberg attends the first practice. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) - Mercedes want Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg to stay and a contract extension is likely to be agreed soon, the team's non-executive director Niki Lauda said on Thursday.

"I'm sure we want to keep Nico, and Nico wants to stay," the Austrian told Sky Sports television during practice for the Monaco Grand Prix.

"I don't see any issues at all and this will be fixed very soon.

"We have to decide it in the next three weeks. This is my point of view, to let him know that we all stick together for the next couple of years," said the retired triple world champion.

Rosberg is out of contract at the end of the season but the German has won four of five races so far this year and leads triple champion team mate Lewis Hamilton by 43 points.

Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said negotiations were under way but there would be no announcement this weekend in Monaco, Rosberg's home town where he has won for the past three seasons.

Some media reports in Italy have suggested Ferrari are interested in signing Rosberg as a replacement for Finland's Kimi Raikkonen, who will also be out of contract, as partner to four times world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Wolff said he would not be surprised if Ferrari, currently Mercedes closest rivals, were interested but played down the likelihood of the 30-year-old leaving.

"He's been part of the Mercedes family since the journey began in 2010, he's the current championship leader, has won seven races in a row, nobody ever doubts in his capabilities," Wolff said.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; editing by Keith Weir)


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