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Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes driver signs new two-year deal

World champion Lewis Hamilton has signed a new two-year deal with Mercedes until the end of 2023.

The Briton, 36, has won six of his seven world titles with the British-based German team since joining from McLaren in 2012.

This season Hamilton is contending for a record-breaking eighth championship but is currently second behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

“We still have a lot to achieve, both on and off the track,” said Hamilton.

It is the earliest he has agreed a new deal with Mercedes for some years and will take his time at the team to at least 11 seasons and into the start of a major rules change next year.

The deal has come together quickly, in contrast to 2020, when the pandemic, a compressed season and then both Hamilton and team boss Toto Wolff contracting coronavirus delayed talks and Hamilton ended the year out of contract.

Hamilton did not agree a new one-year deal with the team for 2021 until February but has been saying since the start of this season that he expected to continue in F1 beyond this year, and began discussing the terms of his new contract with Wolff in May. The pair completed a deal within two months, underlining their desire to keep working together.

Hamilton has not taken a pay cut, contrary to some reports. After an adjustment in salary as a result of the pandemic this season, his earnings will be back to pre-Covid levels, when he was said to be earning as much as £40m a year.

Hamilton and Mercedes have dominated the sport since 2014 – his former team-mate Nico Rosberg is the only man to win a drivers’ title other than the Briton since then.

Hamilton now has a record 100 pole positions and 98 grand prix wins but is facing a momentous challenge from Red Bull’s Verstappen as he seeks to move himself clear of Michael Schumacher in terms of championship titles – Hamilton equalled the German’s mark of seven last season.

There is no word from the team on the identity of his team-mate next season, with the seat between his current partner Valtteri Bottas and British rising star George Russell.

Wolff said he wanted to spend a bit more time observing the two drivers in F1 this season before making a final call.

Hamilton has said he sees no reason to change Bottas, but Russell starred on a one-off debut for Mercedes at the Sakhir Grand Prix last year when he stood in for Hamilton after the world champion contracted Covid-19.

More to follow.

“I don’t know anything about Schumacher, I have no more information than what is known”

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