Lewis Hamilton 'incredibly proud' after signing new two-year contract with Mercedes

F1 world champion is aiming to win his seventh drivers' title with the team and eighth overall

Lewis Hamilton has ended speculation regarding his future after the Formula One world champion signed a new two-year contract with Mercedes, the team announced on Saturday.

Hamilton, the most successful and highest paid driver on the F1 grid, had previously suggested that his time with Mercedes, and indeed in Formula One, could come to an end sooner rather than later.

However, the seven-time world champion has not put pen to paper on a deal that runs until the end of the 2023 season.

"It is hard to believe it's been nearly nine years working with this incredible team and I'm excited we're going to continue our partnership for two more years," Hamilton, who has won six world titles with Mercedes, said in a statement.

"We've accomplished so much together but we still have a lot to achieve, both on and off the track. I'm incredibly proud and grateful of how Mercedes has supported me in my drive to improve diversity and equality in our sport.

"They have held themselves accountable and made important strides in creating a more diverse team and inclusive environment."

Hamilton is one drivers' title away from overtaking the all-time record he shares with Michael Schumacher, although the Briton has more race wins than the Ferrari legend.

He has won three of this season's eight races so far but trails championship leader Max Verstappen by 18 points. On Friday he outpaced Red Bull's Verstappen in practice for this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix.

"His achievements in this sport speak for themselves, and with his experience, speed and race-craft, he is at the peak of his powers," Mercedes team principal and chief executive Toto Wolff said.

"We are relishing the battle we have on our hands this year – and that's why we also wanted to agree this contract early, so we have no distractions from the competition on track.

"I have always said that as long as Lewis still possesses the fire for racing, he can continue as long as he wants."

Next season, Formula One will introduce alterations to the cars, which were pushed back from this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. They aim to aid drivers to overtake more often.

"As F1 enters a new era in 2022 with wholesale technical regulation changes, Mercedes and Lewis will forge new ground in a collaboration which has spanned his entire F1 career," Mercedes said.

On Sunday in Spielberg, Hamilton will look to stop Verstappen from claiming a third consecutive win. The Dutch driver started his last two victories from pole position.

After this weekend's racing, the season takes a break before the British Grand Prix on July 18, the 10th of a 23-race campaign.

Updated: July 3rd 2021, 11:13 AM