LEWIS HAMILTON and his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff toasted his seventh title with a few glasses of something special at 30,000ft.
But now it’s time to put pleasantries aside as they lock horns over a new deal.
Hamilton flew back to Nice before the short 30 minute transit to his Monaco home while Wolff was visiting his wife, Susie, who is team boss of the Venturi Formula E team based in the principality.
The 35-year-old has just 44 days remaining on his current deal with the Silver Arrows.
It’s a unique situation for his previous contracts have usually been tied up by September.
But then this Covid-hit season is not normal by any stretch.
Wolff and Hamilton have been forced to keep their distance, unlike their last contract renewal that took place in Hamilton’s kitchen over a takeaway pizza and lasted for ten hours.
Hamilton has taken his time. He says his focus has been on winning the title.
But with title No7 now secured, his attention will turn to his new contract, expected to be a three year deal worth £40million a season.
When SunSport asked the reigning champion if now was the time to sign up now he’d secured the title, he said: “Definitely it’s something that we do need to get onto.
“I just always think, through the year that I’ve got a job to do, I’ve got a contract in place, I don’t feel like I should add pressure.
“It has to be organic and not something that’s forced. So, I thought I’d bet on myself.
“Naturally there are days when you think ‘what happens if you start making mistakes?’
“What happens if you get worse all of a sudden, you don’t put in these great performances?
“Does your value decrease? Does your bargaining power decrease? Does your reputation go off a cliff?
“I know there’s scenarios in life where you’re like ‘let’s sign up real quick’, so you guarantee your future, and for me, I’ve bet on myself.
“I do the work. I know myself better than anyone and I know what I can do, and I know how to do it. Better than ever.
“And so, I wanted to put it aside and wait until the job is done.
“So, probably over these next weeks – we’ve got three weeks in the Middle East – so, now it’s a bit more chilled but I still have three races ahead of me that I want to win.
“It’s not done but we will get it done, I’m sure.”
While the financial details are expected to remain the same from his current deal, in this time of cost-cutting and the looming cost-cap to limit team’s spending, Mercedes know the value he brings to their brand.
His success and image have helped transform the three-pointed star’s association with an old man’s motor to one of the biggest and coolest brands in the world.
As a seven-time champ, Hamilton could name his price and Wolff would need to play hard-ball with the Damlier board in Stuttgart – a difficult position given his own future is not yet resolved.
Wolff, who also owns a 30 percent share in the team, is understood to be angling for a role of chairman, formerly held by the late Niki Lauda.
It would free him up for his other business interests, including his private shareholding in Aston Martin, plus giving him some more time with his family.
Wolff, says he will be sticking around in some capacity, having identified his successor.
And he is confident Hamilton will be doing the same.
Prior to Hamilton’s win in Istanbul, he said: “I don’t want to drop a date (when Hamilton will sign) because, if I do, everybody’s going to ask at every single race – but this is what we agreed.
“I think it was important to make sure that we have both titles secured and then have a more relaxed approach to the discussion about the future.
“It’s a good dependence on each other. We would like him in the car and I think he wants to drive the Mercedes – because it’s competitive.
“So, no, I think there is a good balance.”