Lewis Hamilton has previously been tipped to target a two-year extension to his Mercedes deal as the 38-year-old edges closer to signing fresh terms with his current employers in advance of next season. Hamilton's existing contract with the Silver Arrows is set to expire at the end of this year as things stand, with plenty of negotiations having taken place behind closed doors over the last few weeks.
It was reported earlier this week that Hamilton could decide to jump ship to Ferrari, who had been credited with making a lucrative approach with the aim of poaching the Brit from Mercedes when the season draws to a close. However, the man himself was quick to dispel those rumours when quizzed on the current state of play regarding his contract situation on Thursday ahead of this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.
"My team is working closely behind the scenes with Toto [Wolff], we are almost at the end of having a contract ready," Hamilton told reporters before he was pressed directly on whether Ferrari had been in contact, to which he simply replied: "No."
It has previously been claimed that Hamilton would be seeking a long-term deal at Mercedes that would maintain his association with the team until the age of 50, with French outlet Sportune claiming back in January that he is hoping for a lengthy ambassadorial role after he eventually decides to retire from racing. The report states that Hamilton's camp are keen to secure a two-year contract worth £125million alongside a further 10-year commitment as a high-profile ambassador for the Mercedes brand, which would bring the total value of the deal up to around £222m.
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However, the prospect of such a deal being struck was quickly shot down by Mercedes earlier this year, with a team spokesperson telling German news agency SID: "This is wild speculation. Completely unfounded."
It remains to be seen whether Hamilton will see his demands met by the Silver Arrows in the not-too-distant future, with the Stevenage native seemingly close to securing his place on the grid as a Mercedes driver for at least another season. He will be desperately hoping for the German outfit to resolve the on-track issues which have plagued their efforts over the last 18 months in order to stand the best chance of winning an eighth Drivers' Championship title, which would see him surpass the all-time record held jointly by himself and fellow great Michael Schumacher.
Mercedes boss Wolff claimed earlier this week that he is firmly expecting Hamilton to put pen to paper on a new contract but previously admitted that he would not blame the Brit for looking elsewhere in a couple of years if he is not given a competitive car, with the unrivalled pace of Red Bull rendering him unable to compete for the end-of-season honours as things stand.
"I'm firmly convinced that we'll find each other, there's not a millimeter of doubt for me," Wolff recently told Osterreich, although he said last month in Saudi Arabia: "If Lewis wants to win another championship he needs to make sure he has the car, and if we cannot demonstrate that we are able to give him a car in the next couple of years then he will need to look everywhere.
"I don't think he is doing it at this stage, but I will have no complaints if that happens in a year or two. I am absolutely confident [that Hamilton will stay]. We are talking when we want to do it, and how, but we just need to change some terms and the dates basically. Lewis is at the stage of his career where we trust each other, we have formed a great bond and we have no reason to doubt each other even though is a difficult spell."
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