Mercedes to keep black livery for 2021 season

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes car will again be painted black for the Briton’s historic assault on an eighth world championship.

Last year, Hamilton urged the Mercedes hierarchy to change its traditional silver livery in a defiant message against racism.

And the German manufacturer is set to continue with the same colour scheme when Hamilton begins the defence of his crown in Bahrain on March 28.

Hamilton, who turned 36 last week, is in the highly unusual situation of being out of contract after his £40million-a-season Mercedes deal expired on December 31.

Speaking at the season-concluding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in mid-December, Hamilton and team principal Toto Wolff said discussions over a new contract were yet to take place.

The PA news agency understands both parties have been in dialogue in recent weeks, and although discussions are progressing, a conclusion to the saga is not imminent.

Mercedes are confident Hamilton, awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours list, will extend his stay with the sport’s all-conquering team.

But the length of his new contract is under scrutiny, with reports the record-breaking Briton has been offered only a one-year deal.

“We have had such a successful run of championships for the past seven years, there is no reason why not to continue,” said Wolff on Hamilton’s future.

“He is on the top of his game and he will be for a while, so that is why continuing together is a no-brainer.

“We always prioritised the championship and not being distracted by sometimes difficult discussions, as is the nature of negotiation, and then Covid struck with Lewis so it has delayed us a bit, but we are not worried in eventually getting it done.

“We are not putting a special date on it. Sooner or later it needs to be done and the latest is when we go testing (in March).”