Hamilton hopes for pre-season contract resolution
Lewis Hamilton hopes to have his contract situation resolved before taking to the grid in Melbourne but says there is no rush to extend his existing deal.
Four-time drivers' champion Hamilton will be out of contract with the Silver Arrows at the end of the 2018 campaign, along with a host of other top Formula One drivers, including team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.
But Hamilton seems in no doubt that an agreement will be reached soon and put the delay down to being away during the off-season.
"Me and [team boss] Toto [Wolff] have been talking for a while," he said at the launch of the W09 on Thursday. "After I left in December I was away and it's not something I'd like to do over the phone.
"I didn't get back until February. But over that time we spoke very often.
Are you guys ready to see the new car?.. @MercedesAMGF1 pic.twitter.com/3g1pMDOEmC
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) February 22, 2018
"Toto knows that I know there's nowhere better, so there's no need to look anywhere else. And he knows that I know there's no-one else better, so we're comfortable and committed to each other.
"It's just about sorting out the details and I hope we will have something done before the first race.
"But there's no rush, no panic. I'm not under pressure from any other drivers and Mercedes have no need to talk to anybody else.
"In the whole six years that I've been here I haven't spoken to another team once.
"I think that really shows my commitment. I know the team have been contacted by other drivers in the past and probably still do today. That's inevitable.
"But we always made it clear that if I wanted to engage and look at my options I would inform them and I've not needed to."
All of the lights! How about that for an entrance!! #DrivenByEachOther #F1 pic.twitter.com/xg1HL5wRWi
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) February 22, 2018
Wolff, meanwhile, was reluctant to put a specific date on when a new deal could be in place, but - after some hesitation - suggested Hamilton could be signed up in "a few weeks".
"I think the sooner the better. But the minute we put a date out, you're going to remember what that date is. It doesn't make any sense to put ourselves under pressure," said Wolff.
"It's important to cover every angle of the cooperation.
"He's been here six years so we are talking about extending that to a very long time with the same driver in the same team.
"I guess a couple of weeks would be a realistic time... couple means two, right? I mean a few weeks!"