Sir Lewis Hamilton agrees new one-year deal with Mercedes
Sir Lewis Hamilton has ended his long-running contract saga with Mercedes by signing a new one-year deal.
The seven-time world champion’s extension was announced by the sport’s all-conquering team on Monday ahead of the new Formula One campaign which gets under way in Bahrain next month.
Hamilton, 36, will be bidding to win an unprecedented eighth world title.
Hamilton, who was knighted in the New Year Honours, has been in the unusual situation of being out of contract since his last £40million-a-year deal expired on the final day of December.
But after several weeks of negotiations with Mercedes, the British driver’s future has finally been settled, albeit with both parties agreeing to only one extra year.
“I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes team-mates,” said Hamilton, who has spent much of the off-season training in America.
“Our team has achieved incredible things together and we look forward to building on our success even further, while continuously looking to improve, both on and off the track.”
Hamilton, who persuaded his Mercedes team to change their livery from silver to black to highlight the fight against racism, added: “I’m equally determined to continue the journey we started to make motorsport more diverse for future generations and I am grateful that Mercedes has been extremely supportive of my call to address this issue.
“I’m proud to say we are taking that effort further this year by launching a foundation dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the sport. I am inspired by all that we can build together and can’t wait to get back on the track in March.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said: “We have always been aligned with Lewis that we would continue, but the very unusual year we had in 2020 meant it took some time to finish the process.
“Together, we have decided to extend the sporting relationship for another season and to begin a longer-term project to take the next step in our shared commitment to greater diversity within our sport.”
Hamilton surpassed Michael Schumacher’s record number of victories last season and emulated the German by winning a seventh title.
Wolff, who has overseen Hamilton’s six of seven triumphs at Mercedes, added: “Lewis’s competitive record stands alongside the best the sports world has ever seen, and he is a valued ambassador for our brand and our partners.
“The story of Mercedes and Lewis has written itself into the history books of our sport over the past eight seasons, and we are hungry to compete and to add more chapters to it.”
Hamilton galloped to last year’s title, wrapping up the record-equalling triumph with three rounds remaining at November’s Turkish Grand Prix.
But the Briton was forced to miss the penultimate round in Bahrain after he contracted coronavirus.
His stand-in, Englishman George Russell, was on course for a brilliant win before a Mercedes pit-stop howler and puncture derailed his chances.
Russell, 22, is entering the final year of his three-season contract with Williams and will be eyeing a seat at Mercedes in 2022.