Seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has signed a new contract with the Mercedes F1 team for the 2021 season.
In what had been a highly unusual situation, Hamilton had entered the year without a deal in place to race in 2021, though the 36-year-old Briton and Mercedes always insisted it was a matter of when, not if, a contract would be agreed.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) February 8, 2021
Mercedes blamed the delay in agreeing the contract on the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic meaning that representatives could not meet face to face. Hamilton’s own positive test for coronavirus also set talks back.
Hamilton will partner Valtteri Bottas, whose one-year deal extension was announced last August, for a fifth successive campaign. 2021, meanwhile, will represent Hamilton’s ninth season with Mercedes.
“I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes teammates said Hamilton in a statement.
“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.”
The confirmation of Hamilton’s deal means the 2021 F1 grid is now complete, with the Briton targeting an unprecedented eighth world championship – and what would be a seventh in eight years.