McLaren will try to drive a hard bargain but Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday he expects negotiations on a new Formula One contract to be straightforward in the end.

The 2008 world champion is out of contract at the end of the season and McLaren chairman Ron Dennis has already said a new deal will have to reflect a changed global financial climate since the last one.

Hamilton told a news conference at the European Grand Prix in Valencia on Thursday that he expected no less from a man who had been his mentor since his karting days as a teenager and who has dealt with numerous champions over the years.

"Ron is a very tough negotiator. He was very tough when they negotiated the contract that I have now and I expect him to be the same when we go back in," he said.

"I don't see there being many problems, to be honest," added the Briton, who said a few weeks ago that he could leave a decision on his future until the end of the season.

The 27-year-old is leading the championship, two points clear of Ferrari rival and former McLaren team mate Fernando Alonso after seven of 20 races.

Hamilton has not won in Valencia in four races in the Mediterranean port city but goes into the weekend as a favorite after winning in Canada, although he is also taking a more strategic approach.

"We've seen seven different winners (in seven races this season), both me and Fernando have scored pretty much in every race yet the Championship is so close," he said.

"I don't think there is too much of a different approach but you have to be a little bit more sensible this year."

(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by John Mehaffey)