Niki Lauda: 'Lewis Hamilton wants new deal beyond 2018'

Niki Lauda watches the action during final practice ahead of the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 7, 2014
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Niki Lauda dismisses suggestions that Lewis Hamilton might quit Mercedes and Formula 1.

Niki Lauda has dismissed suggestions that Lewis Hamilton might quit Mercedes and Formula 1.

Last weekend in Baku, triple world champion Hamilton was moved to clarify quotes that suggested he might retire at the end of this season.

Now, Mercedes team chairman Lauda backed Hamilton's denial, saying that the original comments were "misunderstood".

"He is staying, of course, because he has a contract," the F1 legend told German broadcaster Sky. "He is not Nico [Rosberg]!"

In fact, Lauda says that Hamilton is not only staying in 2018, but already pushing for a new deal beyond that.

"Lewis is already discussing the contract extension with us," said the Austrian. "He has asked about it.

"He is highly motivated, as are we, even though negotiations are yet to start.

"But I must honestly say, I feel a tremendous respect for him. From the very beginning of the season he has this fighting spirit, he is in excellent physical condition, and the results are growing from race to race."

Hamilton is currently second in the driver rankings, trailing leader Sebastian Vettel by 14 points.

Valtteri Bottas of Williams in the paddock during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on April 28, 2016
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TeamPoints
1Mercedes330
2Ferrari275
3Red Bull174
4Force India95
5Williams-Mercedes41
6Toro Rosso33
7Haas29
8Renault26
9Sauber5
10McLaren2
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari177
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes176
3Valtteri BottasMercedes154
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull117
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari98
6Max VerstappenRed Bull57
7Sergio PerezForce India52
8Esteban OconForce India43
9Carlos SainzToro Rosso29
10Nico HulkenbergRenault26
11Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes23
12Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes18
13Romain GrosjeanHaas18
14Kevin MagnussenHaas11
15Pascal WehrleinSauber5
16Daniil KvyatToro Rosso4
17Fernando AlonsoMcLaren2
18Jolyon PalmerRenault0
19Marcus EricssonSauber0
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren0
21Antonio GiovinazziSauber0
22Jenson ButtonMcLaren0