Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes driver ready for 'hard' contract talks
World champion Lewis Hamilton says he knows his "worth" as he prepares for contract talks with Mercedes.
The Englishman, who has a salary of $31m, plans to negotiate his own deal for the first time after severing ties with his management company last year.
Hamilton says he is a "rookie" in this area but told BBC Sport: "I am 30 now. I am my own man. I know my worth."
Out of contract at the end of 2015, the former McLaren driver says he wants to remain with the team run by Toto Wolff.
"I have read every one of my contracts in the past so I know what is and what can't go and what I can try to get," Hamilton added.
"It is going to be hard. Toto is a big businessman and is great at negotiating and he is up against a rookie, but I have good grounds for it.
"I can't say I am particularly excited about it, but I like that I am doing them on my own.
"No-one's helping. But of course I can reach out to people for advice."
In an interview before pre-season testing in Spain on Sunday, Hamilton also told BBC Sport that:
- he wants to be even better in 2015 than in 2014, when he won 11 races on the way to the title.
- it is an ambition to win a third title to match childhood hero Ayrton Senna and other F1 "legends"
- he knows team-mate Nico Rosberg wants to beat him and is determined to win again
Hamilton and Wolff said they would sit down at the end of the 2014 season to begin discussions, but this did not happen.
"My future is with this team," said Hamilton, who joined Mercedes in 2013. "I plan to be here long term.
"I had the busiest end of season I'd ever had and then, when we were in the factory we didn't sit down and talk about it.
"Then I went away for quite a long time and I only got back towards the end of this month.
"But we are planning to have talks relatively soon."
Hamilton on 2015
"I want to be better this year. We had an amazing year last year and it's difficult to think we could top that, but it has to be the goal.
"It's my ninth year in F1. I'm already past the halfway point. I'm aware of that and want to make the most of every moment I have."
Hamilton on a third title
"Ayrton Senna was always my favourite driver. So, from back in the day, that was the dream - to emulate Ayrton.
"If anybody was to say I was a legend now, I would say: 'Absolutely not.' Firstly, legends are generally people who are retired. Secondly, to be a legendary driver you have to be up amongst them and have three titles.
"Of course that's the goal. The second one took forever and was easily as hard as the first. The third, I anticipate, will be even harder."
Hamilton on Rosberg
"I know how much he wants it, so you have to want it more. The good thing is I am not short of motivation in terms of wanting it."