Formula 1

Hamilton signs two-year Mercedes extension

Formula One world champions Lewis Hamilton has won six of his seven titles at Mercedes and will remain with the team until 2023.

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Hamilton signs two-year Mercedes extension

Lewis Hamilton has signed a new two-year contract with Mercedes, running until the end of the 2023 Formula One season.

The 36-year-old is chasing a record-breaking eighth world championship this season, having won six of his previous seven with Mercedes, who he joined from McLaren in 2012.

Hamilton confirmed "positive" discussions last month and can now focus fully on attempting to overhaul Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who has opened up an 18-point lead in the drivers' standings after eight rounds of the 2021 season.

Hamilton: "We still have a lot to achieve"

"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," Hamilton said.

"We've accomplished so much together but we still have a lot to achieve, both on and off the track."

This latest prompt renewal is in stark contrast to Hamilton's contract situation for the current campaign.

The compressed 2020 schedule and then Hamilton and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff both testing positive for covid-19 contributed to the world champion ending the year out of contract. He did not pen his most recent one-year deal until February.

From 2014 to 2020, the only world title Hamilton did not win went to his then team-mate Nico Rosberg, underlining a period of total domination for Mercedes – a run that has seen their lead drive move on to 100 pole positions and 98 career wins.

Along with Red Bull's strong challenge this time around, a host of new technical regulations slated for 2022 mean Mercedes' pre-eminence no longer looks quite so certain.

"As we enter a new era of F1 from 2022 onwards, there can be no better driver to have in our team than Lewis," Wolff said.

"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."

Since F1's resumption last year, Hamilton has stepped up his work as a prominent voice for racial equality.

Last year, he set up The Hamilton Commission – a research project to understand the barriers to entry for people whose backgrounds are under-represented in motorsport.

"I’m incredibly proud and grateful of how Mercedes has supported me in my drive to improve diversity and equality in our sport," Hamilton said.

"They have held themselves accountable and made important strides in creating a more diverse team and inclusive environment."

It is still unclear who Hamilton's team-mate will be for 2022.

Valtteri Bottas is languishing fifth in the championship, while British youngster George Russell – now with Williams – impressed when he stood in during Hamilton's coronavirus absence at last season's Sakhir Grand Prix.