Hamilton planning 2021 Mercedes stay but 'slowly working out' long-term future

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Lewis Hamilton will "slowly work out" his Formula One future, although the championship leader intends to remain at Mercedes for at least another year.

Hamilton, who is bidding in for a fourth straight title and a record-equalling seventh in total, is out of contract with the Silver Arrows at the end of the season.

The Briton has so far been reluctant to reveal his long-term thinking, but Mercedes are set to be able to rely on their star driver again in 2021.

Speaking ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix, where he can surpass Michael Schumacher's record of 91 wins, Hamilton told Sky Sports: "All I can say is that I plan to be here next year."

Expanding slightly further, Hamilton said: "I don't think I'm at my peak. I'm in a good area, for sure. I still want to continue to race but I don't know how much longer it will be.

"It's definitely not going to be a long time before I stop, so this is a period of time where I've got to slowly work out what the future holds. It's bright, whatever I decide to do.

"But it also has to be aligned with the times, it has to be aligned with my values and it has to be aligned with what the team is planning to do."

Hamilton dramatically stole Portuguese pole from team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who has agreed a deal with Mercedes for next year.

It was the Silver Arrows' 13th consecutive pole, their third-best ever run - behind streaks of 23 across 2014 and 2015 and 18 from 2016 to 2017.

Hamilton has now qualified fastest at 27 of the 31 different grands prix at which he has competed, with this his Portugal debut, and will aim to add to his wins at 26 events - two F1 records.

Should the 35-year-old maintain first place from start to finish on Sunday, he will become just the second driver to 5,000 leading laps in F1 history, trailing only Schumacher (5111).