Lewis Hamilton contract talks delayed after COVID-19 diagnosis says Wolff

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Lewis Hamilton’s contract talks with Mercedes will have to wait until the seven-times world champion recovers from COVID-19, his team boss Toto Wolff said on Friday.

The Briton, who is sitting out this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for the new coronavirus earlier this week, has already wrapped up a seventh world title but is out of contract at the end of the year.

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After winning the championship at last month’s Turkish Grand Prix, Hamilton indicated negotiations would step up over Formula One’s season-ending Middle Eastern triple header.

But the winner of last Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix is currently in a 10-day isolation period in Bahrain.

“Well, the timeline is being pushed back until he recovers,” Wolff told reporters on Friday at the Sakhir Grand Prix, the second of the Middle Eastern races and the penultimate round of the season.

“We know that we need to get it done, pretty well aware both of us. But the priority now is of him getting back on his feet and being back (COVID) negative and then we will meet or Zoom in order to put pen to paper.”

It is unclear whether Hamilton, who Wolff said had mild symptoms, will race in next week’s Abu Dhabi season finale.

The Briton, who earns an estimated 40 million pounds ($53.90 million) a year, became the most successful driver in Formula One history this season, surpassing Michael Schumacher’s record for most wins and equaling the German great’s title haul.

Mercedes have won the last seven constructors’ and drivers’ titles and, with the cars and rules staying substantially the same, are favorites to dominate again next year.

Hamilton has been replaced by Mercedes-backed Williams driver George Russell for the Sakhir race.

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