F1 world champion Hamilton extends Mercedes contract to 2020
Source (By Jens Marx, dpa)
Hockenheim, Germany (dpa) – Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has extended his contract with Mercedes by two years to 2020, his team said Thursday.
The 33-year-old Briton Hamilton has been with Mercedes since 2013 and confirmed his widely expected new deal with the team ahead of Sunday’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.
«This contract extension has basically been a formality since (Mercedes motorsport chief) Toto [Wolff] and I sat down during the winter, so it’s good to put pen to paper, announce it and then get on with business as usual,» Hamilton told the Mercedes homepage.
Hamilton won three of his four world titles with Mercedes after spending five years in F1 with McLaren, with whom he was champion in 2008.
Having last signed a three-year deal to cover 2016-18, Hamilton would have been free to change team after this campaign – but his status and salary made that an unrealistic prospect.
«We are on the same wavelength both on and off track – and I am looking forward to winning more in the future and shining even more light on the three-pointed star,» said Hamilton. «I’m very confident that Mercedes is the right place to be over the coming years.»
«The competitive passion that burns bright inside me is shared by every single member of this group – always chasing the next improvement and digging even deeper to make sure we come out on top. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together in the next two-and-a-half seasons.»
With 65 race victories, Hamilton trails only Michael Schumacher (91) in the all-time list and no driver has achieved more than his 76 pole positions.
«There is not much about Lewis as a Formula One driver that hasn’t been said already – he is one of the all-time greats and his track record speaks for itself,» Wolff said.
«But what I enjoy most about working with him is getting to know the man inside the racing helmet: his relentless drive for self-improvement, his emotional intelligence as a team member and his loyalty to those around him.»
Hamilton currently trails Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by eight points in the world title standings after a torrid spell for the team towards the end of the recently concluded first-ever race triple header.
While Hamilton won in France on June 24 to lead the standings, the Austrian and British Grands Prix in subsequent weeks were ruined by mechanical problems, tactical errors and bad luck.
Accordingly Hamilton, and Mercedes, are in desperate need of a victory at Hockenheim.
Mercedes have dominated the hybrid engine era since 2014 but Ferrari have improved this season and lead the constructors’ standings by 20 points.
Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas is without a win this term but is also expected to renew his expiring contract with the team.