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Mercedes to go all in to keep Hamilton

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Mercedes may not hand Lewis Hamilton a blank check but the German team will do its very best to keep the 2017 world champion on board beyond 2018.

Contract talks have been initiated between the Briton and Mercedes, with the former likely demanding a rise to his eight-figure annual retainer, with a £120 million number often cited!

"This year, Lewis won the championship for Mercedes, it's that simple," Niki Lauda told Brazil's Globo.

"I think Ferrari had the best chassis-engine package, and now Red Bull has arrived too. But Lewis drove like never before, with little to no errors, driving like a God, and gave us the title.

Team boss Toto Wolff agrees with the F1 legend's assessment of Hamilton's achievements.

"He's the greatest driver I've ever worked with," he said.

"We really want him to stay with us, of course."

Lauda agrees that Hamilton staying in the future is important to Mercedes.

"Experienced drivers become better grand prix after grand prix, year after year. It's the only way to succeed in any sport," he said.

To that end, Lauda says Mercedes will keep an eye on the development of Max Verstappen.

"Max is the most fantastic young driver I've ever seen, no doubt," said the Austrian.

"The only thing I would tell him is to keep his feet on the ground. He has a tendency to lose control of himself, but if he masters those impulses he can be one of the greatest drivers F1 has ever known."

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