MX23RW : Sunday, August 1 14:04:50| >> :120:16613:16613:

Lewis Hamilton holds 'positive discussions' over new Mercedes deal

Lewis Hamilton holds 'positive discussions' over new Mercedes deal
© Reuters
The world champion's current deal runs out at the end of the season.

Lewis Hamilton said he has started positive discussions with Mercedes over a new contract – and has called on his team to keep Valtteri Bottas instead of hiring George Russell.

Hamilton, 36, agreed only a one-year deal with the Silver Arrows in February, just six weeks before the start of his championship defence.

The length of his contract extension raised the prospect that he could retire at the end of the season.

However, the seven-time world champion has since claimed he wants a fresh deal in place by the summer break in August.

And speaking ahead of this weekend's Styrian Grand Prix in Austria, Hamilton said:  "We have begun discussions. I don't want to say too much, but the discussions are positive."

With Hamilton signalling his desire to stay, the identity of his Mercedes team-mate for 2022 remains in the balance.

Bottas has endured a poor start to his season – already 72 points behind leader Max Verstappen in the standings – with Russell, a Mercedes junior driver, continuing to impress in his uncompetitive Williams.

Russell excelled as a stand-in for a Covid-hit Hamilton at last year's Sakhir GP. The British driver, 23, was denied victory by a poor Mercedes pit stop and then a late puncture.

But Hamilton added: "Valtteri is my team-mate now. Both of us have had ups and downs in our careers.

"He is a fantastic team-mate and I don't necessarily see that it needs to change. "

Asked to comment on Russell as a future partner at Mercedes, a defensive Hamilton said: "Well, he's not my team-mate, so I don't need to say anything on that."

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Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas during practice for the French Grand Prix on June 18, 2021
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina23141350
United StatesUnited States20231659
JapanJapan175931
AustraliaAustralia1431431
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12191344
Great BritainGreat Britain10101232
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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