Reigning Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton signed a new contract with Mercedes at the start of the season, ensuring he would race with them for another year. There was much speculation about whether Hamilton would put pen to paper on a new deal, with the contract only finalised a month before the season was due to begin.

Hamilton was said to be earning around £29m on his previous deal with Mercedes and, according to a report from Race Fans, the 36-year-old took a pay cut when he signed his new one-year contract.

It is claimed Hamilton’s salary was reduced to £21.7m for the current F1 season.

However, the seven-time world champion does have a bonus package which may mean he does not miss out on maximising his earnings.

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff recently expressed confidence that Hamilton would remain with the team for further seasons.

He said: “I very much hope so; the journey that we have had together was very successful.

“He has been a Mercedes driver – a Mercedes kid since his go-karting years.

“He never raced a single weekend in Formula 1 without a Mercedes power unit, so it’s the logical continuation of the story.

“We don’t want to leave it until January to confirm the two drivers.

“Valtteri [Bottas] was pretty regular during the summer – this is when it should happen.

“Also, to give the driver peace of mind, or be able to concentrate on the job.

“And obviously for next year there’s lots of balls in the air and we will always try to do the best for the team long-term while also giving total loyalty to our current driver line-up.

“We are not doubting either Valtteri or Lewis but discussions obviously are going to happen – but not in January next year.”

Hamilton won the opening race of the season in Bahrain last month, finishing ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Speaking after the victory, Hamilton said: “Wow. What a difficult race that was.

“Stopping early we knew would be difficult but we had to cover Max, they have had an amazing performance all weekend.

“Max was all over me at the end and I was just about able to hold him off. That was one of the hardest races I’ve had for a while.”

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