Toto Wolff is confident that Lewis Hamilton will sign a new deal sooner rather than later after he confirmed that they had held positive talks with their leading driver.

The four-time Formula 1 drivers' champion is in the final year of his contract with Mercedes but, has admitted that he sees his long-term future with the Silver Arrows team. He was expected to sign the deal by the end of last year, but negotiations have dragged on until this year.

Hamilton admitted that driving for Ferrari is every F1 driver's dream, but revealed that he was happy at Mercedes where he has won three of his four titles. Wolff, who is the Mercedes motorsport chief, is confident that their association with the Briton will continue with the Brackley-based team for the foreseeable future.

"Lewis has become such an important pillar within the team, it is a no-brainer that we continue with each other. The discussions are ongoing and with a very positive mind-set. It is just a matter of time, when we seal it and put the signature to the document," Wolff told Mercedes' official site.

Mercedes will again start the 2018 season as the favourites to win their fifth consecutive double titles having dominated the last four seasons. Ferrari and Red Bull Racing have been their closest challengers with the 2017 season being the first time Hamilton was challenged by a driver from another team – Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

However, Wolff has played down expectations and revealed that they are just working hard to ensure they continue to be in the mix for race wins and titles when the season gets underway.

"No, because all points go back to zero. We are extremely happy and proud of the four double titles, but it isn't a guarantee of doing it a fifth time. The mind-set within the organisation is to stay humble about your own achievements but motivated and energised, in order to try and win races again and eventually - hopefully - be in the fight for the title," Wolff explained.

lewis hamilton
Lewis Hamilton is close to agreeing a new deal with Mercedes Getty