Formula One: Hamilton cools speculation on his future, keen on contract extension

Mercedes-AMG's British driver Lewis Hamilton attends the first practice session of the inaugural Russian Formula One Grand Prix at the F1 Autodrome in Sochi on Oct 10, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Mercedes-AMG's British driver Lewis Hamilton attends the first practice session of the inaugural Russian Formula One Grand Prix at the F1 Autodrome in Sochi on Oct 10, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

SOCHI (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton has cooled speculation linking him with a move from Mercedes to another Formula One team by making a statement on Twitter and briefing reporters on his position.

Speaking in the Olympic Park paddock ahead of Sunday's inaugural Russian Grand Prix, the world championship-leading Briton said he had no intention of leaving and was intent on discussing an extension to his current contract.

"It's an interesting time in Formula One," said Hamilton, who is seeking his fourth consecutive victory in this weekend's race. "Drivers making changes, top drivers making changes, a lot of fiction, a lot of silly stories going around.

"Whoever is starting those silly conversations... I always have made it clear I'm here (with Mercedes) to do a job. I have a contract until the end of next year.

"We have confirmed we will sit down and talk about the future at the end of the year when the most important thing (the championship) is done. Mercedes helped me get to Formula One.

"I've been here since I was 13, so I feel pretty relaxed, but I'm also aware of what goes on in the business and I'm aware that those people (who start rumours) are trying to intervene.

"All I can do is do what I've done up until now. I think hopefully my performance speaks for itself."

Earlier, Hamilton had taken to his Twitter account to say: "I'm focused on 1 thing & 1 thing only right now....Winning this championship!! I am committed 100% to @MercedesAMGF1."

The 29-year-old Briton has been linked with a return to McLaren, who switch to Honda engines next year, but that has been denied in all quarters and prompted Mercedes boss Niki Lauda to make clear the team's position.

"With Lewis, now, we're negotiating to renew his contract after 2015... For two or three years. We're just talking to him how long does he do. We're all positive, he's positive this is going to happen."

The speculation surrounding the drivers' transfer market intensified when four-time champion German Sebastian Vettel announced he was departing Red Bull next year, probably for Ferrari as successor to two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

Alonso's own future now appears to be uncertain. Asked on Thursday if he would remain in Formula One in 2015, he replied: "I don't know."