1996 Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill has suggested a reason why Lewis Hamilton’s contract extension with Mercedes has not yet been announced.
Hamilton’s current deal with the Brackley-based squad expires at the end of the 2023 campaign.
The seven-time World Champion was briefly linked with a move to Ferrari, however he shut down the rumours and asserted that he was targeting an extension with Mercedes.
Over the last several weeks, Mercedes and Hamilton have hinted that the deal is close to being signed.
However, Hill states that the car company itself is involved in the deal, making it a contract that goes far beyond his F1 driving duties.
“The talk is that Lewis is finalising a much longer-term deal that goes beyond his racing career,” he told Press Association.
“The car company itself is involved, so there is a bit more bureaucracy in this deal.”
Hamilton has won six of his seven F1 titles with Mercedes, spanning from 2014 to 2020.
The 38-year-old was on the cusp of taking a record-breaking eighth championship in 2021 before missing out on the final lap in Abu Dhabi when Max Verstappen overtook him.
The situation came about following a controversial Safety Car restart, which saw Race Director Michael Masi depart the FIA following the incident.
Since then, Hamilton has been unable to consistently challenge at the front of the field as Mercedes has been racing off the pace of Red Bull, who has dominated F1 over the last 18 months.
Hill commended Hamilton for his reaction to the Abu Dhabi fallout.
“It is admirable the way Lewis kept his chin up after what happened in Abu Dhabi,” Hill said.
“He got back on with the task in hand and he is driving better again this year than he has done before.
“He is starting to gel with that car now and he has solved some of the problems he faced.
“So I would be amazed if he doesn’t want to go out on a high by winning that eighth title, and he is absolutely motivated by that. He has got that longevity and he looks after himself.
“He needs a competitive car, half-a-chance, and someone like Lewis will rise up to that challenge and find more in himself.
“At the moment we are seeing a happier Hamilton, and a happy Hamilton is a fast Hamilton.”