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Lewis Hamilton extends contract with Mercedes

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has extended his contract with his current F1 team Mercedes, until the end of 2018. The deal is one of the most lucrative in Formula One racing history.

British driver Lewis Hamilton has extended his contract with F1 team Mercedes until the end of 2018. Although no financial details were given, media reports have suggested the Briton is in line for a pay packet amounting to more than $40 million (36 million euros) a year.

"Mercedes is my home and I couldn't be happier to be staying here for another three years," Hamilton said on the Mercedes homepage. "This is a company filled with real passionate racers, from the boardroom to the factory floor, and an incredible hunger to win."

Confirmation of the deal ends media speculation which had suggested Hamilton could have been tempted away from the team when his previous contract expired at the end of this season. His new wage places Hamilton on par with Fernando Alonso, who so far has been the top earner in Formula One at McLaren.

The Mercedes F1 team announced the new contract deal via the social media site Twitter.

A long Mercedes history

The contract extension seemingly comes at a perfect time for the British driver, who is currently in top form. The 30-year-old won his second world title, and first with Mercedes, last season after joining the team in 2013. He currently also leads the F1 drivers' standings from teammate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton came through the ranks of motorsport with the McLaren team, where he won his first drivers' title in 2008, but has been driving cars with a Mercedes engine for nearly two decades.

"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," Hamilton said on the Mercedes website.

German driver Rosberg, who is chasing a third successive Monaco Grand Prix win this weekend, agreed his own multi-year contract extension last July.

al/rd (dpa, Reuters)