Lewis Hamilton has hit out at the Daily Mail for "making s--- up" after suggesting his contract negotiations with Mercedes have hit a dead end over his wage demands.
On Saturday the British newspaper reported the six-time world champion is demanding £40 million a year to sign a new contract extension, allegedly double the amount Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is willing to offer. Hamilton's existing deal expires at the end of 2020.
Although his wage has never been made public, it is reportedly in the region of £36 million a year.
Hamilton was quick to refute that story on Saturday morning, maintaining that proper negotiations are yet to begin.
"So the media keep writing about contract and me making demands," he wrote on his Instagram story.
"But I haven't even spoken to Toto about it yet. No demands. The conversation hasn't even begun. So please stop making s--- up."
Hamilton and Wolff have been consistent on the subject since it became a talking point mid-way through last year. There is a clear willingness from both sides to continue a partnership that has yielded such success on the race track -- Hamilton has won the championship in five of his seven seasons with the team -- but there has been no rush to finalise a deal.
Speaking in February, Wolff said: "I think it is an obvious pairing going forward. We would like to have the fastest man in the car and I know that Lewis wants to be in the fastest car, so there is an obvious mutual outcome."
If Hamilton and Mercedes did decide not to continue, the six-time world champion has limited options. At the end of last year there were suggestions Ferrari could move for Hamilton, but the Italian team has already confirmed McLaren's Carlos Sainz will replace Sebastian Vettel next year, while Charles Leclerc is contracted with the team until 2025.