Lewis Hamilton is set to extend his spell at Mercedes

Credit: Reuters

Lewis Hamilton is on course to rubber-stamp his next contract with Mercedes before the summer break.

The PA news agency understand that discussions are progressing smoothly with a resolution expected in time for Formula One’s four-week August shutdown.

Both Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff are desperate to avoid a repeat of last year’s protracted talks when a one-season deal was finalised only six weeks before the start of the season.

Hamilton will be 37 in January, but it is understood his new contract with the Silver Arrows could take him beyond the conclusion of the 2022 campaign.

Wolff told PA last month that he expects the seven-time world champion, who trails Max Verstappen by 18 points following the Red Bull driver’s win at the Styrian Grand Prix on Sunday, to commit to at least a two-year extension.

Resolving Hamilton’s future will allow Mercedes to determine who occupies their second seat next season.

Valtteri Bottas’ deal expires at the end of the year, and Briton George Russell, a Mercedes junior driver, is in the frame to replace him.

Russell, 23, who stood in for Hamilton at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix, believes he will find out if he has landed one of the hottest seats on the grid before the summer break.

However, Hamilton made clear at last weekend’s Styrian GP that his preference would be for Bottas to stay.

Mercedes have won the past seven drivers’ and constructors’ titles, but after eight rounds Verstappen leads Hamilton in the individual standings with Red Bull 40 points ahead in the team championship.

Following Verstappen’s crushing win in the Styrian mountains, Wolff said Mercedes will cease upgrades on this year’s car and switch their attention to next season’s machine which will be radically different following major changes to F1’s regulations.

Hamilton, winless for four races, will be be looking to stop the rot when he returns to action in Spielberg this weekend for the Austrian GP.