Lewis Hamilton has finally committed his future to Mercedes by signing a deal to remain with the team for the 2021 season.
Talks between Hamilton and Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff were put on hold for numerous reasons last year - initially, the long-term lockdown, the 17-race season packed into 24 weekends, ensuring the titles were wrapped up, and finally, the seven-time champion being sidelined by Covid-19.
Once a window of opportunity finally materialised, however, it became clear talks were not as straightforward as per Hamilton's previous deal, with Wolff conceding that "curveballs" were thrown at one another that taxed the lawyers.
Both sides, though, had always made clear their intention to thrash out fresh terms, with the 36-year-old now extending his stay with Mercedes.
A naturally delighted Hamilton said: "I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes teammates.
"Our team has achieved incredible things together and we look forward to building on our success even further, while continuously looking to improve, both on and off the track.
"I'm equally determined to continue the journey we started to make motorsport more diverse for future generations and I am grateful that Mercedes has been extremely supportive of my call to address this issue.
"I'm proud to say we are taking that effort further this year by launching a foundation dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the sport. I am inspired by all that we can build together and can't wait to get back on the track in March."
Wolff said: "We have always been aligned with Lewis that we would continue, but the very unusual year we had in 2020 meant it took some time to finish the process.
"Together, we have decided to extend the sporting relationship for another season and to begin a longer-term project to take the next step in our shared commitment to greater diversity within our sport.
"Lewis's competitive record stands alongside the best the sports world has ever seen, and he is a valued ambassador for our brand and our partners.
"The story of Mercedes and Lewis has written itself into the history books of our sport over the past eight seasons, and we are hungry to compete and to add more chapters to it."
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