Barcelona - Lewis Hamilton says he is close to signing a new
Mercedes contract after winning Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix watched by several
members of the all-conquering German constructor's board.
In the aftermath of his dominant triumph ahead of team-mate
Valtteri Bottas the defending four-time world champion indicated he will soon
be inking a long-awaited new deal with the champions.
An announcement before or during the Monaco Grand Prix later
this month is now expected.
"All the bosses have been here and l don't think there
is anyone in the hierarchy who has any concerns," said Hamilton.
"We do talk about it and we are not far away from
finishing things. It will happen - hopefully in the near future."
The 33-year-old Englishman was so thrilled by both his own
personal return to form and the team's work on improving his car's performance
at the Circuit de Catalunya that he suggested, after the race, that he may sign
a long-term deal.
It had been rumoured that he was reluctant to sign a new
contract because he feared losing enjoyment of the racing and had reservations
about the sport's future direction under new American owners Liberty Media.
But after securing his 64th career win in majestic fashion
in a crushing Mercedes one-two that hoisted both driver and team clear at the
top of their respective championships, he said: "If I keep this feeling
then I'm going to be racing for a long time!"
Team boss Toto Wolff was also more positive - not only about
their performance, but also securing Hamilton for the long-term future.
"It's almost all sorted," he said. "We don't
want to lose him and l don't think he wants to go anywhere else... Everything
is going fine. We have had other priorities in the last few weeks.
"We weren't happy with the performance of the cars and
we needed to sort things out. Finalising a contract takes time and we both
decided to park it."
Hamilton, like team-mate Bottas, has less than year
remaining on his current contract and has been elusive on making any firm
commitments to both Mercedes and Formula One at various times in recent months.
But his emphatic win on Sunday, when he and Mercedes
appeared to have rediscovered the form of past triumphant seasons, may be seen
as a major turning point for all concerned.
While Ferrari faltered, with four-time former champion
Sebastian Vettel finishing fourth and Kimi Raikkonen retiring with power
problems, Hamilton did not put a wheel wrong on his way to confidence-boosting
"I would like to hope that this race could be part of a
turning point," said Hamilton. "I said that I wanted to come here and
win the way that I won and when I came across the line I was just happy that I
did as I planned.
"The team have been working very hard to understand the
tyres and how the car works so I think it all came together this weekend.
"We definitely go to Monaco on a high note, but we know
that we still have a lot of work to do. That said, I will sleep like a baby
Hamilton will hope also that Ferrari fail to repeat the form
that brought them a one-two finish in the Mediterranean principality last year
where Vettel won.
On Sunday, the German admitted: "No excuses - they were
faster than us and beat us fair and square this time, but we can bounce
Wolff added that Hamilton's triumph would repair some of the
damage done by his recent loss of form and confidence.
"The best ones are very sensitive and fragile and that
is something we know and he knows," he explained.
"He was solidly in the lead in Melbourne and suddenly
he was behind the Ferrari. It is difficult to cope with and in the following
races we struggled.
"But having such a good weekend here and winning by a
solid margin is very important for his confidence."