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Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1 contract talks 'ongoing'

Hamilton Wolff Mercedes F1 FIA prize giving 2017

Mercedes Formula 1 team principal Toto Wolff says that Lewis Hamilton's contract renewal is "just a matter of time" ahead of his current deal expiring at the end of this season.

Wolff said he had no worries that Hamilton would be returning to the driving seat for 2019 and beyond at the team with which he's won three of his four world titles.

"Lewis has become such an important pillar within the team that it is a no-brainer that we continue with each other," said Wolff.

"The discussions are on-going in a very positive mindset, and it's just a matter of time when we seal it and put a signature to the document."

Hamilton has previously said about his re-signing: "It is quite an easy process for us. We already have something great in place and it is really just about extending it, and enhancing it, and working on what more I can do for them and vice versa."

Wolff also talked about the long-term potential for his team's driver line-up, and how it was already searching the junior categories for the next generation after Hamilton retires.

"We are keeping our eyes open to identify the next Lewis Hamilton - four, five, six, seven years [from now] for when Lewis eventually decides he's had enough of F1," he said.

"We are approaching this with a completely open mindset, we are even looking at karting, we are supporting a young Italian boy who is barely 12 years old, and we enjoy doing that.

"It's about identifying the talent, no matter where they are in the world."

During the interview, which was filmed earlier this week, Wolff also confirmed that the Mercedes W09 was fired up for the first time this week, and that his team had enjoyed a "good winter".

"The mood is good, it's especially good because today we will be firing up the car for the first time," Wolff added.

"What has been designed is coming together, and is coming alive.

"It never goes seamlessly or smoothly because you're trying to push the boundaries, making the car as light as possible and as quick as possible.

"We've had a good winter, I would say, no real drama - but there is always stress at this time of year."

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