LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has tipped Lewis Hamilton to win a third Formula One title this season and says his Mercedes team could dominate for years to come.
"Whether he is (favorite) or not, I think he's going to win it," the 84-year-old Briton told Sky Sports television on Wednesday.
"Mercedes have done such a good job with this power unit, its left everybody behind and I can't see people catching up that quickly.
"Maybe in three years. We can't afford to wait three years, or two years or one year."
Hamilton took his second championship last season after winning 11 of the 19 races for the dominant team, with German team mate Nico Rosberg taking five victories and finishing runner-up.
Ecclestone said the Briton, who celebrated his 30th birthday this month, was a good champion for the sport because he was better known than Rosberg and more easily recognizable.
"He's a rapper. So we're going to get to a completely different audience as well now," he added. "He's going to be good as a world champion."
The season starts in Australia on March 15.
Hamilton has yet to sign a new contract beyond 2015 but he said he was relaxed with the situation.
"I was at the factory for a couple of days but I haven't sat down with the team," he told Sky at a sponsor appearance in Switzerland. "But we said last year we are not in a rush, we are relaxed.
"The team have acknowledged that they want to continue with me and vice-versa. So there's no stress. I'm comfortable and confident and trust that they are not speaking to anyone else and they know that's the case with me."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer)