Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes driver signs new two-year deal

Max Verstappen is second to Lewis Hamilton in this year's drivers' championship Lewis Hamilton, the world champion, has signed a two-year contract with Mercedes that will run until 2023. Since joining McLaren in 2012, the Briton (36) has won six of his seven titles with the British-based German Team. Hamilton is currently competing for a record eighth championship, but is currently second to Max Verstappen of Red Bull. Hamilton stated, "We still have much to do on and off the track." This is his first agreement with Mercedes in many years. He will continue to be a member of the team for at least 11 seasons, and into next year's major rule change. The deal was done quickly in comparison to 2020 when Hamilton's pandemic caused a short season. Talks were then halted by Toto Wolff, Hamilton's team boss, who contracted coronavirus. Hamilton was also terminated from his contract. Hamilton didn't sign a new one year contract with the team until February, but he has stated since the beginning of this season that F1 would continue beyond the current season. He began to discuss the terms of his new contract in May with Wolff. They signed a contract within two months and it was clear that they wanted to continue working together. Contrary to reports, Hamilton has not had his salary reduced. His earnings will return to pre-Covid levels after an adjustment to his salary due to the pandemic. He was earning up to 40m per year in that time. Their support for George Floyd's push for more diversity and inclusion in the sport has strengthened the bond between the driver and the team. This was in the midst the worldwide outcry over George Floyd's death at the hands US police last May. Hamilton stated that he was incredibly proud of Mercedes' support in his drive to increase diversity and equality in the sport. "They held themselves accountable and have made significant strides in creating an inclusive team." Wolff stated: "As F1 enters a new era from 2022 onwards there is no better driver than Lewis to be part of our team. "His accomplishments in this sport speak for them, and with his speed, experience, and race-craft, it is the height of his abilities. "We are enjoying the fight we have this year. That's why we also wanted this contract to be in place early so that we don't have distractions from the competition. "I've always believed that Lewis can race as long as he has the passion for racing." Since 2014, Hamilton and Mercedes have been the dominant force in the sport. His former teammate Nico Rosberg is still the only driver to win other than the Briton. Hamilton has now achieved a record 100 pole positions, 98 grand prix wins and is now facing a formidable challenge from Red Bull's Verstappen. Verstappen seeks to surpass Michael Schumacher in terms championship titles. Hamilton had seven championship titles last season. The team has not yet revealed the identity of his team-mate for next season. He will be competing with British rising star George Russell and Valtteri Bottas. Wolff stated that he would like to spend more time with the F1 drivers this season before making a final decision. Hamilton said that he doesn't see any reason to change Bottas. But Russell was a star on a special debut for Mercedes at Sakhir Grand Prix last season when he replaced Hamilton who had contracted Covid-19.


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