Lewis Hamilton says discussions with Mercedes over prolonging his Formula 1 stay in 2022 have begun.
Hamilton, who has been with Mercedes since 2013, signed only a one-year extension for this season, the announcement of which was made in February.
Hamilton and Mercedes have previously outlined that they do not want to prolong discussions over the next contract for such a protracted period.
The Briton also suggested he sees no reason for replacing team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
“We have begun discussions,” Hamilton said ahead of this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix. “Not a lot to say. We have started discussions and things are positive
“Valtteri is my team mate now and both of us have had ups and downs in our careers but like I said, he’s a fantastic team-mate and I don’t necessarily see that it needs to change.”
Hamilton enters the eighth round of the season trailing Red Bull rival Max Verstappen by 12 points.
Verstappen narrowly beat Hamilton to victory in France on Sunday to complete a hat-trick of wins for Red Bull.
Hamilton outlined the lengths to which he and Mercedes have been trying to close the deficit.
“I’ve generally been working flat out, in the past few days,” he said. “There’s been a lot of Zoom [meetings], a lot of calls [with] everyone at the team.
It has been really encouraging and inspiring to see everyone flat out, everyone just leaving no stone unturned, I got to be at the factory yesterday, so again just good to see and speak to the team, and just continue to encourage them to keep pushing as that’s what we’re doing.
“We need everyone to bring their A-game to be able to fight these Red Bulls.
“We know how strong they are, there’s three long straights here and you could see how much time they were taking out of us on the straights in the last race.
“It could be the same here, we’ll wait and see. But I come here with an optimistic approach that what we’ve learned in the last race, what we’ve learned since then, will hopefully help us take a small step forwards, even if it’s 0.01 per cent, that’s a step in the right direction.”