BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Lewis Hamilton says he and Mercedes want to extend his contract beyond next year, although they have yet to hold formal talks about a new deal.
“We haven’t sat down yet but the team knows that I would like to push to continue and they’ve made it clear they’d like to do the same,” Hamilton said on Thursday at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
A win on Sunday would give Hamilton three straight victories and five overall on the Hungaroring circuit, exceeding Michael Schumacher’s four wins.
Hamilton said he felt “not 100 percent but close” after crashing in qualifying due to a brake failure at last week’s German GP, a race in which he surged to third place after starting 20th.
“I’ve recovered quite a lot from the last race, and this weekend is going to be no problem,” Hamilton said.
He has five wins this season, and lies 14 points behind championship leader and teammate Nico Rosberg.
He said he would not let the mechanical failure in Hockenheim haunt him in Hungary.
“As a racing driver you have to have 100 percent confidence in your car and your team,” he said. “Even though I had that issue … you can never have doubt in the car, safety-wise particularly, or that will hold you back massively.”
Rosberg recently signed his own contract extension with the German outfit. He said he enjoys racing on the slow and winding Hungarian track despite his poor recent results here.
“It’s like Monaco, a street circuit, but in a permanent track,” Rosberg said. “It’s really challenging to get that perfect lap because of all the turns and bumps. It’s an awesome track.”
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel said that though the slower circuit could help his Red Bull team, Mercedes seemed unbeatable this season.
“If everything goes normal and being realistic, it’s difficult to beat Mercedes because they are so much quicker than everyone else,” Vettel said.
The German driver said he was impressed by the recent results obtained by Valtteri Bottas of Williams, who has made the podium in the last three races with one third and two second-place finishes.
“Williams has definitely made a step” since the Austrian GP in June, Vettel said: “They’re very competitive down the straights the whole season, but they got a lot more competitive on the corners.”
Mercedes has won nine of the 10 races so far.
“They could have a nice Saturday afternoon” at the nearby waterpark “and still win the race on Sunday,” said Vettel, sixth in the championship.
Two practice sessions will be held on Friday and one on Saturday morning before the afternoon qualifying.