F1 Lewis Hamilton extension Mercedes – .

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F1 Lewis Hamilton extension Mercedes – .


SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) – When his new contract expires at the end of 2023, Lewis Hamilton could stand out as Formula 1’s greatest driver with 10 world titles.
Mercedes announced on Saturday that the seven-time F1 champion has signed a two-year contract extension. His current contract was open at the end of this year, as he hopes to clinch an eighth title to overtake co-record holder Michael Schumacher.

The 36-year-old British driver is in his ninth season with Mercedes after joining McLaren eight years ago.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been almost nine years of working with this incredible team and I’m delighted that we’re continuing our partnership for another two years,” said Hamilton. “We’ve accomplished so much together, but we still have a lot to accomplish, both on and off the track. “

Hamilton has a close working relationship with team principal Toto Wolff, who was relieved that the contract was finally signed after months of speculation.

“He knows what he thinks about racing pretty well, that passion burns heavily,” Wolff told reporters on Saturday at the Austrian Grand Prix. “We talked about retirement and it’s always very important to have that retirement flirtation, but also to be in control of your own destiny. There is so much passion for the sport that I can see him going there for a while. “

Hamilton is currently trailing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by 18 points after eight races. Verstappen leads him 4-3 in wins and 3-2 in pole positions.

Wolff added that this season’s close race for the title prompted them to close the deal.

“We’re savoring the battle we have on our hands this year – and that’s why we also wanted to close this deal earlier, so that we don’t have any distractions from the competition on the track,” Wolff said. “In a way, the tough championship has ignited even more fun with us fighting and next year is shaping up to be really exciting. “

The deal was announced ahead of qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix and was quickly praised by F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“I am delighted that Lewis will stay in F1 for at least two years,” said Domenicali. “What he has accomplished in this sport is incredible and I know he has more to come. He is a global superstar on and off the race track and his positive impact on Formula 1 is huge. “

Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013 from McLaren, where he won his first title in 2008. Many observers predicted it was a risky move, such was Red Bull’s dominance at the time.

Red Bull had just won their fourth straight driver and constructor title with Sebastian Vettel at the wheel, and Hamilton won just one race in his debut season with Mercedes.

But a switch to hybrid engines turned F1 upside down and Hamilton has won every title with Mercedes since 2014, except for 2016, when then-teammate Nico Rosberg clinched the title and retired.

Later on Saturday, Hamilton will go for a record 101st F1 pole and a record 99th win on Sunday.

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