Lewis Hamilton set to agree new deal at Mercedes next week

Mercedes will meet with Formula One leader after Abu Dhabi finale

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The Independent Online

Mercedes will meet with Lewis Hamilton the day after Sunday’s championship-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to tie down the Briton to a new contract and keep his often fiery partnership with title rival Nico Rosberg going beyond next year.

Earlier this year, Mercedes extended their deal with Rosberg, while Hamilton’s contract is currently set to expire at the end of 2015.

“We have agreed that we want to continue and Lewis has said the same but at some point we decided that it was not the right time to do it,” said the team’s executive director Toto Wolff. “The duel was so intense so we thought it was a good idea to talk after Abu Dhabi. Now we have agreed that we get together on Monday in Abu Dhabi to talk.”

Asked why only Rosberg’s deal was extended first, Wolff told the Austrian broadcaster ORF: “We didn’t want to be in a situation where in a year’s time there is the possibility we have to be filling not one but two places.

“Nico is an important part of the team, he fits in well and his performance is good so we wanted to extend at an early stage. With Lewis the contract runs for another year anyway.”

When Wolff was asked if he sees the “fire” between the team’s current pairing as essential to continue Mercedes’ dominance into next year and beyond, he replied: “I don’t know if fire is important. The only thing the two are interested in is that they have the fastest race car possible. So I would say at the moment that we have a good situation.

“Clearly there are many others who would like to have this cockpit, but I hope our two see it that way as well and we can go on with this driver combination.”