Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has signed a new two-year extension with Mercedes.
The seven-time title winner has been with Mercedes since 2013 and won six of his championships there, while every one of his 274 grands prix and 98 victories has come with Mercedes power.
Hamilton extended the ultra-successful partnership for the 2021 season but only on a one-season deal after delayed negotiations dragged the process out into early this year.
He and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said they wanted to avoid a repeat this time, with the expectation Hamilton would continue in F1 and a new deal would be agreed by the summer break.
Mercedes has now announced ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix that Hamilton has signed a contract keeping him with the team to end of 2023.
The new deal comes in the context of the toughest season Hamilton and Mercedes have had in years.
They trail Red Bull and Max Verstappen in both championships, and haven’t won in the last four races.
“As we enter a new era of F1 from 2022 onwards, there can be no better driver to have in our team than Lewis,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
“His achievements in this sport speak for themselves, and with his experience, speed and racecraft, 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.”
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) July 3, 2021
Hamilton always insisted that success this season would have no bearing on his future.
As well as being motivated to achieve more on-track, and curious to discover a “challenging and exciting” new era of car F1 is introducing next season, Hamilton has cited things like off-track inspirations like the charitable foundation he established with Mercedes this year and F1’s increasing initiatives to improve diversity in the championship as reasons to continue.
He said in his confirmation he and Mercedes “still have a lot to achieve, both on and off the track”.
“This is fantastic news for Formula 1 and I am delighted that Lewis will stay In F1 for at least another two years,” said F1 chief 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.”
Now Hamilton’s future is secured the focus turns to who will partner him at Mercedes next season.
Valtteri Bottas has been Hamilton’s team-mate since 2017 and the two have a good working relationship, while Bottas has ably supported all of Mercedes’ title runs in that time.
However, Williams driver and Mercedes protege George Russell has made an increasingly strong case to be given a full-time drive with the works team.
A decision on which of those two will be given the nod to drive alongside Hamilton is also expected before the summer.