Lewis Hamilton finally ended speculation over his future on Thursday as the four-time world champion signed a blockbuster two-year contract extension with Mercedes.
Hamilton’s deal is worth a reported £40 million ($52 million) per year, cementing the British star’s status as Formula One’s highest paid driver and his country’s top earning sportsman.
Following months of speculation about the negotiations and whether Hamilton would move to another team, the 33-year-old is now tied to Mercedes until the conclusion of the 2020 season.
Hamilton insisted he had always been on course to remain with Mercedes, telling the team’s website after the announcement: “This contract extension has basically been a formality since Toto 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.
“I have been part of the Mercedes racing family for 20 years and I have never been happier inside a team than I am right now.
“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. I’m very confident that Mercedes is the right place to be over the coming years.
“Although we have enjoyed so much success together since 2013, Mercedes is hungrier than ever – from Dr Zetsche and the board members at the top of Daimler, through Toto (Wolff) and the team management, to every single person I meet in the corridors of Brixworth and Brackley.”
Hamilton will be nearing his 36th birthday at the conclusion of his latest contract, and he has made no secret of his desire to forge a career in fashion or music.
For now, Hamilton is chasing his fifth world crown this season to join Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio as the only other driver to have won more than four titles.