LEWIS Hamilton has finally agreed a new three-year deal with Mercedes, bringing to an end his drawn-out contract saga.
The protracted negotiations between the team and the reigning Formula One drivers’ champion have been the subject of much speculation and debate this season.
However, Hamilton and Mercedes have at last reached an agreement, with the British driver signing a new deal for the 2016 to 2018 Formula One seasons, inclusive.
The three-year contract is reportedly worth up to £100million – a deal which would see Hamilton become Britain’s highest-paid sportsman.
“Mercedes is my home and I couldn’t be happier to be staying here for another three years,” he said after the deal was announced in Monaco.
“This is a company filled with real passionate racers, from the boardroom to the factory floor, and an incredible hunger to win.
“Even after the success of last year, that hunger is greater than ever – and it’s the same for me, too.
“The Mercedes car I am driving right now is the best I have ever had in my career. It’s just so much fun to be out there every weekend, on the limit and fighting to win at every track.
“Mercedes-Benz began supporting me in 1998 so I am very proud that this contract means I will mark 20 years with Mercedes in 2018.”
Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013 having gone from junior racing to Formula One champion during his long association with McLaren, who used Mercedes engines until reverting to Honda this season.
The 30-year-old won his second world crown last year and has enjoyed a solid start to his title defence, winning three of the opening five races.
Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg pipped him to victory last time out in Spain and Hamilton arrives in Monaco looking to stop the German topping the podium here for a third successive year.
The Silver Arrows got Rosberg tied down to a new, multi-year contract last summer and Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, is pleased to have now sorted out Hamilton’s future.
“Continuity is one of the key factors for delivering success in Formula One and we now have that in place,” he said of Hamilton, who currently leads Rosberg by 20 points.
“Lewis enjoyed a historic World Championship season with Mercedes-Benz last year and it was a priority for this season to renew his contract for the next term.
“We have taken the right amount of time with the process and not rushed ourselves.
“The result is a strong agreement that will enhance Lewis’ association with the Mercedes-Benz brand and that recognises and respects the market value of Lewis and of Mercedes in Formula One.
“Lewis’ sporting track record speaks for itself and he is a great personality for the company.
“Personally, I am looking forward to continuing to race with the strongest driver pairing in Formula One and to more historic achievements together.”