London, July 3 (MNN) Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will continue their immensely successful partnership in Formula 1 beyond this season, with the reigning seven-time world champion signing a two-year contract to make him stay in F1 with the Silver Arrows until at least the end of 2023.
It is the second contract Hamilton has done with Mercedes in six months, with the Briton only putting pen to paper on his current one-year term a few weeks before pre-season testing began, Formula 1 said.
Both Hamilton and Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff were keen to avoid the contract saga dragging on again, so began talks much earlier and they were concluded within weeks before being announced on Saturday morning of the Austrian Grand Prix.
It means Hamilton will be just one week short of 39 years old when his new deal ends, having extended his stay at the Silver Arrows – with whom he’s won six of his seven titles – to 11 years.
“It is hard to believe it’s been nearly nine years working with this incredible team and I’m excited we’re going to continue our partnership for two more years,” said Hamilton.
“We’ve accomplished so much together but we still have a lot to achieve, both on and off the track. I’m incredibly proud and grateful of how Mercedes has supported me in my drive to improve diversity and equality in our sport. They have held themselves accountable and made important strides in creating a more diverse team and inclusive environment.
“Thank you to all the dedicated and talented individuals at Mercedes whose hard work makes it all possible and the Board for their continued trust in me. We’re entering a new era of car which will be challenging and exciting and I can’t wait to see what else we can achieve together.”
Wolff added: “As we enter a new era of F1 from 2022 onwards, there can be no better driver to have in our team than Lewis.
“His achievements in this sport speak for themselves, and with his experience, speed and race craft, he is at the peak of his powers. We are relishing the battle we have on our hands this year – and that’s why we also wanted to agree this contract early, so we have no distractions from the competition on track.
“I have always said that as long as Lewis still possesses the fire for racing, he can continue as long as he wants.”
“This is fantastic news for Formula 1 and I am delighted that Lewis will stay in Formula 1 for at least another two years,” added F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali.
“What he has achieved in this sport is incredible and I know he has more to come. He is a global superstar on and off the race track and his positive impact on Formula 1 is huge.”
The identity of Hamilton’s team mate remains unclear, but it is believed to be a call between incumbent Valtteri Bottas – who has been with the team since 2017 – and Mercedes junior George Russell, who has impressed with his performances at Williams.