Lewis Hamilton signs new Mercedes contract: World Champion says £57m deal never in doubt

Hamilton says he is looking forward to ‘awesome’ times with the team

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The Independent Online

It has taken an age for Lewis Hamilton finally to sign a new contract with Mercedes but the world champion was adamant that he had never considered signing for any other team and that he will continue to race in Formula One when his latest deal expires in three years’ time.

Despite a salary believed to be in the region of $30m (£19.3m) a year – all parties have cited confidentiality in refusing to disclose the actual figure – he admits that he did not celebrate when he finally added his signature to the contract already signed by senior Mercedes race-team management last week.

“Did I have a glass of wine?” he asked himself. “At home we may have toasted it but, actually, I don’t think so.

“I didn’t need to do that, and I’m not feeling any sense of relief. Nothing has changed. But I am just so happy to have another three years, because it means the team really believe in me. The single most incredible thing is that it means I will be driving a car that’s designed and built specifically for me. I will be driving this awesome car for another three years.”

 

Hamilton added there was no pressure to conclude talks quickly. Explaining why negotiations have been going on since they resumed in February – after being put on hold while he was winning last year’s world title – he said: “I have been reading the draft contract on a lot of flights. There was never any doubt, honestly. I was always led to believe the team wanted to continue with me.

“Naturally, with the success we have had and relationship we have, it felt certain. So I took my time, and I didn’t feel like I was being challenged elsewhere to find another drive.”

Though he will be 34 years old when the new contract expires, he sees no reason why he will not continue racing in F1 after that, and enjoyed a private joke on the subject with former team-mate Jenson Button, who is 35. “That’s pretty young still. I definitely see me continuing past that.”

Team-mate Nico Rosberg did not sound disappointed by the news. “I never expected Lewis to go anywhere else,” he said. “There is no better place to be than Mercedes, they are the best team in F1 and probably will be for many years. It’s good that he has the contract. It’s what racing is about, our battles. We are really pushing each other, and that’s great for us and for the team.”

Rosberg could join Graham Hill and Ayrton Senna as a hat-trick winner of the Monaco Grand Prix if he beats Hamilton on Sunday. Last year he indulged in some questionable “gamesmanship” to keep his pole position, which proved crucial to his success on race day. But despite losing to Rosberg last time out in Spain, Hamilton said he is not worried about that this time.

“It’s a fresh start and I feel really good coming into this race. We’ll see how it comes out on the track, but I have been focusing recently on where I need to improve here. I haven’t won [here] since 2008 and that wasn’t that spectacular. But potentially I have the car to win here, and I know what I’m capable of when I stretch myself. 

“Of course I want to win this race, but it’s not the end of life if I don’t. It’s not that I don’t want to win, but I want to win the world title way more than I want to win this race.”

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