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Sebastian Vettel has described the combination of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes ‘one of the strongest’ in the history of the sport, as contract talks between the two rumble on.
The seven-time world champion was out of contract on December 31 and just two months before the 2021 season kicks off, he is yet to agree to new terms.
Since moving to Mercedes in 2013, Hamilton has won six of the last seven world championships, with his only failure coming when teammate Nico Rosberg pipped him in 2016.
During the Brit’s successful campaigns in 2017 and 2018, Vettel, then driving for Ferrari, put up valiant challenges, finishing as runners-up on both occasions.
Now driving for Aston Martin, the German was asked about his rival, claiming the combination of Hamilton and the Mercedes car was historically impressive.
"We were up against a very strong team/driver combination, one of the strongest we’ve seen so far, but our goal was to be stronger than that and in this regard, we failed," Vettel told GP Fans.
"We had good races, bad races, we got close, sometimes far away, there are a lot of reasons why, but in the big picture it’s not unfair, it’s just the truth."
Hamilton reportedly wishes to extend his stay with Mercedes as he looks to clinch a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ Championship.
Team boss Toto Wolff has also made it abundantly clear that he wants to agree to terms, previously describing extending the relationship as a ‘no brainer’.
"From my point of view, we had such a successful run at championships in the past seven years, that there is no reason not to continue," Wolff said in December.
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"He [Hamilton] is on the top of his game and he will be for a while. And that's why continuing together is a no brainer. If you refer to why haven't we got a signed contract? The reason is simple.
"We always prioritised about getting this championship done, and not being distracted by sometimes difficult discussions, as is the nature of negotiation. But then COVID struck. So it has delayed us a little bit, but we are not worried in eventually getting it done.
"We are putting no special date to it, because we don't want to be put under pressure from you guys [the media] while it's not signed yet. So sooner or later, it needs to be done. At the latest before we go testing.”
- Lewis Hamilton
- Sebastian Vettel
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