F1: Lewis Hamilton extends contract with Mercedes until 2020 | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 19.07.2018
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F1: Lewis Hamilton extends contract with Mercedes until 2020

Defending drivers' champion Lewis Hamilton has extended his contract with Mercedes. The Briton has won 44 races and three drivers' championships for the Silver Arrows. Teammate Valtteri Bottas has signed on for 2019.

Formula One superstar Lewis Hamilton has signed a two-year contract extension with Mercedes, the motor-racing team announced on Thursday.

"Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport and Lewis Hamilton today announced the agreement of a two-year contract extension for the 2019 and 2020 Formula One seasons," a statement from the team read. No figures were given in the statement, but the deal is reportedly to be worth around 40 million pounds (€45 million, $52 million) per year.

Hamilton's contract with Mercedes was set to expire at the end of the current season. The announcement came three days before Sunday's German Grand Prix at the Hocknheimring, located about 90 kilometers (56 miles) northwest of Mercedes headquarters in Stuttgart.

'A formality'

Hamilton, 33, had been widely expected to extend his deal after meeting with Mercedes' director, Toto Wolf, in December, with the Briton calling it "only a formality." He has been part of Mercedes' team since 2013 after spending the first six years of his Formula One career with McLaren.

"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," Hamilton said. "I'm very confident that Mercedes is the right place to be over the coming years."

Hamilton has won three of his four drivers' championships with the Silver Arrows, his only other coming with McLaren. His 65 race wins — 44 with Mercedes — is second all-time to German and Ferrari Legend Michael Schumacher, who had 91.

Mercedes have won each of the last four constructors' championships, but their recent dominance could come to an end this season. Hamilton currently sits eight points behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' standings, and Ferrari has a 20-point lead over Mercedes in the constructors' table.

Bottas signs on for 2019

The Mercedes lineup is to remain intact in 2019 after Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas on Friday also signed an extension with the Formula One outfit. At statement released by Mercedes ahead of the German Grand Prix said the 28-year-old Finnish driver's deal included an option that could also see him remain with the team for the 2020 season. 

dv/pfd (AP, dpa, SID)

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