Hamilton set for new contract as Mercedes look to extend rivalry

 
Frank Dalleres
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MERCEDES chiefs have vowed to keep Britain’s Lewis Hamilton at the team beyond the world championship leader’s current contract, which expires at the end of next season.

Head of motorsport Toto Wolff addressed speculation linking Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso with a move to the team by insisting he wants Hamilton and his title challenger Nico Rosberg to continue their rivalry.

“We have a contract with both our drivers for 2015, and we want to continue with the current line-up,” he said. “These two boys are part of the success of the team, they know each other so well and they respect each other. The moment you get somebody else in that fight could be detrimental to the team’s performance. Our priority is to continue with Lewis and Nico beyond 2015.”

Hamilton took another step towards a second drivers’ title with victory at Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi. He now leads team-mate Rosberg by 17 points with three races to go, although the Abu Dhabi finale this year offers double points.

“It’s very positive but history’s shown this year that the gap can never be enough,” said Hamilton. “The most important thing is what the gap is at the end of the year.”