Lewis Hamilton has ended all speculation regarding his future in Formula 1, as the seven-time World Champion committed his future to Mercedes after signing a two-year contract extension, keeping him at the team till 2023.
Hamilton, who is currently second in the championship behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, only signed his 2021 contract on the 8th of February after months of negotiations between Hamilton and Mercedes management.
Both parties hinted that contract extension talks were going well last week, with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitting that talks between him and Hamilton were laid back.
In a statement, Hamilton thanked the Mercedes board for their continued trust in him as he talked of his excitement for the new era of Formula 1 coming in 2022.
“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. 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 explained why Hamilton was signed so early into the season, with both parties wanting no distractions in the title race.
“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.”
The identity of Hamilton’s teammate remains unknown with Valtteri Bottas and Williams’s George Russell the hot favourites to partner the defending champion in 2022.