Formula One: Hamilton ready to sign on the dotted line with Mercedes

LONDON (REUTERS) - Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is ready to sign a new contract that, according to media reports, could net him more than US$40 million (S$55 million) a year.

"It should be done this week. There's no reason why it shouldn't be," the Mercedes driver told British reporters after finishing second in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.

"Honestly, it's 99.6 per cent done. There's no negotiating left. It's just legal stuff."

The BBC reported on Tuesday that the 30-year-old Briton, who has conducted his own negotiations with Mercedes, would earn about the same basic salary as in his first contract with the team he joined in 2013.

However other sources indicated the terms would be more lucrative, to reflect his success and status. With bonuses, depending on the number of race wins and retaining the championship, the BBC calculated the total amount would be "well over US$40 million" - working out at more than US$4,500 an hour or US$75 a minute.

Hamilton, who won the first of his two titles with McLaren in 2008, is one of the three highest paid drivers in the sport with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and McLaren's Fernando Alonso reckoned to earn at least what the Briton does.

He is out of contract at the end of this season and the saga of his negotiations has kept the media busy since last year, when the talks were put on hold for him to concentrate on the title battle.

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