Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed he is working hard to persuade Lewis Hamilton to extend his contract with the Silver Arrows beyond 2023. The seven-time world champion hasn’t committed his future to Mercedes, despite being in talks with the team for several months.
Wolff, who has been Hamilton's boss since he joined Mercedes in 2013, said that he hopes to keep the Briton in the team for as long as possible and considers him an "important pillar" of the team and a "friend". He also said he does not need to convince Hamilton of the merits of staying with Mercedes, as he believes the driver knows about the team's potential and ambitions.
"I very much hope so," Wolff said when asked if he thought Hamilton would stay. "I'm doing everything I can to make him stay. I think there is no need to persuade him. He knows about all the goodness, and although we struggled with the car this year, and last year, he will be part of the resurrection of the team."
Wolff also admitted that he and Hamilton have had some disagreements and conflicts in the past, but they have always managed to overcome them and maintain a strong relationship. He said they agreed to respect each other and move on from their differences. "Lewis has become a friend, and over the years we've gone through difficult spells and very good moments," Wolff said.
"We celebrated many championships, and we had discussions among ourselves, which were not always easy. But today, he is just a friend. He’s an ally, he’s the best racing driver in the world, and I am very proud of being part of his career."
Hamilton, who has won six of his seven titles with Mercedes, has not commented publicly on his contract situation. While the start of the season was not good, the middle races have shown Mercedes a glimmer of hope. The Australian GP saw the British driver achieve 2nd place, a feat which he has reciprocated just once since. After finishing on the podium a few more times, Mercedes has mostly been an average-performing team, but Hamilton has said he still enjoys being there.