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Hamilton starts negotiations over new deal – Mercedes

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Hamilton starts negotiations over new deal - Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton has begun talks over a new contract with Mercedes, the Formula One team confirmed on Wednesday.

The seven-time world champion said during the launch of the team’s new car for the 2023 season at Silverstone that he is “planning to stay a bit longer”.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff added later discussions over an extensions to Hamilton’s £40 million-a-season ($48 million, 45 million euros) deal, which expires at the end of the year, have begun.

“We have had a first chat, but I don’t want to commit to any timeline,” said Wolff.

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“That is not important for him or for us. His current contract runs a full year and we will find the right time.

“We have done a few of these contracts in the past and it is not usually complex apart from the obvious terms.”

Hamilton turned 38 last month with his next deal set to take him beyond his 40th birthday.

But Wolff said perceptions of what constituted ‘old’ in modern sport were having to be revised.

“The age plays no role for this next contract. If you look at how well top athletes have pushed the boundaries, and I am thinking about (recently retired American football quarterback) Tom Brady, who is 45 and has been on a pitch and being tackled.

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“In terms of the contract, we have always found good solutions that reflect his value to the team, and the sport, and Mercedes is the place he wants to be. Nothing is dragging on, the alignment is great and this will be a journey that continues.”

Hamilton recorded his worst championship finishing position of sixth in F1 last year, although that appeared to be more to do with the team’s failure to adjust to the sport’s new regulations than any decline in the British driver’s ability.

“How he (Hamilton) appears to me is in great form, very positive, motivated, energised, and maybe the best so far I have seen in those 10 years at Mercedes after the winter,” Wolff said.

“He knows what he has with the team. We have won eight constructors’ titles in a row, and we got it wrong last year. The resource and the capability is there and we just need to continue to develop like we have done last season.

“I don’t think it plays on Lewis’ mind, that he is in any doubt that the team can perform. We will. Eventually.”

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Earlier, Hamilton said: “I have been here a long time. I continue to love racing and that is never ever going to change. It is part of my DNA and I always believe I can get better.”

“There is always a new log-book and new tools that you have to get used to, and I love that so I am planning to stay a little bit longer.” 

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Sinisterra signs long-term deal with Bournemouth

Sinisterra signs long-term deal with Bournemouth

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Sinisterra signs long-term deal with Bournemouth

Luis Sinisterra has made his move to AFC Bournemouth from Leeds United permanent, signing a long-term deal with the Premier League team on Friday.

Bournemouth reportedly agreed to a £20 million fee with Championship (second-tier) side Leeds.

The 24-year-old Colombian had been impressive since joining Bournemouth in September on a loan spell from Leeds United, with three goals and three assists in his 17 appearances.

“I’m really happy to make this move. I’m excited to play for Bournemouth for the long term,” Sinisterra said. “I feel really comfortable here and the fans are really nice. When I meet them in the streets, they show the love.”

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Andoni Iraola’s team are 12th in the table on 27 points, but are winless in their last four games. They play Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday. 

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Son and Bissouma ready for Spurs game with Brighton

Son and Bissouma ready for Spurs game with Brighton

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Son and Bissouma ready for Spurs game with Brighton

 Son Heung-min and Yves Bissouma returned to Tottenham Hotspur this week from international duty, and both are ready for Spurs’ game with Brighton & Hove Albion, manager Ange Postecoglou said on Friday.

Son was involved with South Korea at the Asian Cup where they lost to Jordan in the semi-final on Tuesday while Bissouma’s Mali exited the Africa Cup of Nations last weekend at the quarter-final stage.

Spurs, fifth in the standings on 44 points, host Brighton on Saturday, with Roberto De Zerbi’s side in eighth place on 35 points.

“Sonny and Biss they trained well. Sonny did recovery on Thursday and trained today,” Postecoglou told a press conference.

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“He is very disappointed for Korea’s exit, at the semi-final stage you feel so close. But he gave everything for his nation, no-one could question his commitment.

“I spoke to him after and he was keen to be back, so no surprise he was back training straight away.”

The manager also played down concerns over Bissouma, after media reports that he had played through the illness with malaria at the tournament.

“No, that’s not right. He had a slight form of malaria before the tournament, but it cleared up by the start of tournament. He’s 100 percent now.”

Manor Solomon hasn’t played since September and Postecoglou confirmed that the winger had another procedure on his knee earlier this week and is still another two or three weeks away from a return.

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Another injury concern was Giovani Lo Celso who missed the last three league games for Spurs.

“Lo Celso trained all week but he’s missed a fair bit of football so we’ll see whether he needs another week or not,” the manager said.

“It’s probably, for want of a better word, the healthiest squad we’ve had for quite a while anyway.”

Spurs conceded an added-time equaliser at Everton last weekend and lost to a late Nathan Ake goal against Manchester City in the FA Cup, but conceding late is not something that overly concerns their manager.

“It’s disappointing to concede goals at any point. People will want to analyse it,” Postecoglou said.

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“I’m sorry but we’re going to be a team that will score or concede goals late. The way we want to close out games is by trying to score goals late on.

“One thing we’re not going to do is jump at shadows and try to fix the latest thing being analysed.” 

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Fils ends ‘great champion’ Gasquet’s 956 weeks in top 100

Fils ends ‘great champion’ Gasquet’s 956 weeks in top 100

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Fils ends 'great champion' Gasquet's 956 weeks in top 100

 Rising star Arthur Fils beat fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet at the Auckland Classic on Tuesday to end the veteran’s run of more than 18 years in the world’s top 100.

The 19-year-old Fils cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 victory against the 37-year-old Gasquet, who had enjoyed a remarkable 956 consecutive weeks in the top 100, peaking at number seven in July 2007.

Gasquet was defending the Auckland title and points he won 12 months ago, so the first-round defeat will see him slide down from 76th in the world when new rankings are released next week.

Fils, with a booming serve that produced nine aces, broke at 2-2 in the first set and at 1-1 in the second and applauded Gasquet as he left the court.

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“He’s a great champion. He did an unbelievable career so I’m really happy to play on the court with him,” said Fils, who reached the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open last week.

“But it was a nice match for my part and I’m really happy.”

In other action, Canada’s Denis Shapovalov looked rusty in his first match since Wimbledon last year, losing Austria’s Sebastian Ofner 6-4, 6-2.

Roberto Bautista Agut was beaten by fellow Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4, 6-4 and eighth seed Max Purcell of Australia overcame New Zealand’s 716th-ranked wildcard Kiranpal Pannu 6-4, 6-4.

The top four seeds, Ben Shelton, Cameron Norrie, Francisco Cerundolo and Felix Auger-Aliassime, all had first-round byes. 

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