Hamilton contract talks now ‘a game of chess’ as Mercedes stand firm over stance

Lewis Hamilton is currently a free agent after his £40m-a-season contract with Mercedes came to an end on December 31.

The seven-time Formula One world champion is in talks with Mercedes about a new deal but, according to Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport, the negotiations have 'become a game of chess'.

Back in November, Hamilton confirmed that he would like to stay at Mercedes, telling Sky Sports: "I would love to stay. We realise we've got to face and not ignore the human rights issues in the countries that we go to, not just 20 years, 30 years from now, but now.

"I want to help F1 and Mercedes in that journey, and moving more sustainable as a sport, I want to see if I can be part of that for a little bit longer."

However, with the 2021 F1 season scheduled to begin on March 28, the two parties have yet to reach an agreement and it has been claimed the negotiations are like 'a game of chess' as both sides attempt to get things in order.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said in December that he was hopeful Hamilton would sign a new contract and admitted that an agreement would need to be reached "at the latest before we go testing".

"From my point of view, we had such a successful run at championships in the past seven years, that there is no reason not to continue," Wolff said at the time.

"He [Hamilton] is on the top of his game and he will be for a while. And that's why continuing together is a no brainer. If you refer to why haven't we got a signed contract? The reason is simple.

"We always prioritised about getting this championship done, and not being distracted by sometimes difficult discussions, as is the nature of negotiation. But then COVID struck. So it has delayed us a little bit, but we are not worried in eventually getting it done.

"We are putting no special date to it, because we don't want to be put under pressure from you guys [the media] while it's not signed yet. So sooner or later, it needs to be done. At the latest before we go testing.

"It doesn't worry me at all, because I will always respect Lewis's decisions. Whether this is staying with us for a long time, or whether that means leaving the sport and pursuing different interests.

"I think we need to be ready for all kinds of curveballs being thrown at us. But at the same time, we talk a lot, and we are very transparent with each other. I think there is more to achieve together."

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