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Hamilton says new Mercedes deal now close

The end of Lewis Hamilton’s protracted negotiations with Mercedes over a new deal beyond 2015 may finally be close.

The reigning world champion has conducted his own talks with the German marque, amid swirling rumours of contact with Ferrari, and reports Hamilton recently bought one of the Maranello marque’s rare and expensive LaFerrari supercars.

But the 30-year-old Briton told Sky Sports on Tuesday that he is hoping his new deal will finally be done before this weekend’s Malaysian grand prix — a home race for Mercedes’ title sponsor Petronas.

“I mean, it’s going back (and forth) between the lawyers so I hope it is done before the weekend,” Hamilton confirmed.

“That would be great, but if not (it will be done) in due time.”

London’s Times newspaper estimates the new Mercedes deal at an incredible $55 million per year for Hamilton, while the Telegraph said it could even be as much as $60m, making him easily the highest paid driver on the grid.

However, the latter report cited “senior sources” who said an announcement is in fact “not expected this weekend”. (GMM)

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