Thursday, 19 july 2018, 05:57 , by Matthew Scott
Lewis Hamilton has finally put an end to speculation about his future in Formula 1 by signing a new deal with Mercedes. The reigning world champion has put pen to paper on a new two-year contract with the Silver Arrows after months of negotiations.
A deal worth an estimated £40million per year is the most lucrative on the grid and makes Hamilton Britain's best-paid sport star.
Hamilton had been expected to sign a fresh deal in pre-season, but he has finally committed to the sport ahead of his Mercedes team's home race in Germany this weekend.
The 33-year-old admitted earlier this season that Liberty Media's vision for the sport from 2021 and beyond had led to a delay in his decision process and he has not made any commitment beyond the end of the current Concorde Agreement.
Team principal Toto Wolff said: "There is not much about Lewis as a Formula One driver that hasn't been said already - he is one of the all-time greats and his track record speaks for itself.
#HamiltonAnnounced ???? “I have been part of the Mercedes racing family for 20 years and I have never been happier inside a team than I am right now. The competitive passion that burns bright inside me is shared by every single member of this group. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together in the next two-and-a-half seasons” - @LewisHamilton . . . . . #mercedes #mercedesbenz #mercedesamg #f1 #formula1 #lewishamilton
"But what I enjoy most about working with him is getting to know the man inside the racing helmet: his relentless drive for self-improvement, his emotional intelligence as a team member and his loyalty to those around him.
"Mercedes has become Lewis' home in Formula One and his story is linked forever with the silver and green of Mercedes-AMG Petronas. I am very confident that we have some incredible chapters of our story together still to come."
Hamilton has taken 44 of his 65 grand prix victories since joining the Silver Arrows in 2013, as well as adding three world championships to his collection to draw level with Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost.
He has added 50 pole positions to his tally while with the team, heading to Hockenheim with 76 to his name - already more than any F1 driver in history.
Hamilton's deal is expected to see several dominos across the grid fall into place, with Daniel RIcciardo likely to commit to Red Bull, which could see Carlos Sainz Jr remain with Renault, having spent time on loan with the French team.