Lewis Hamilton to Remain in Formula 1 with 2-Year Mercedes Contract

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 3, 2021

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton arrives for the third practice session at the Red Bull Ring race track in Spielberg, Austria, on July 3, 2021, ahead of the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix. - Austria OUT (Photo by GEORG HOCHMUTH / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT (Photo by GEORG HOCHMUTH/APA/AFP via Getty Images)

Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton signed a two-year contract extension with Mercedes' AMG Petronas F1 Team on Saturday that runs through the 2023 season.

ESPN's Laurence Edmondson reported details of the new deal for Hamilton, whose future in the series was "in doubt" until he worked with team CEO Toto Wolff on the extension.

The 36-year-old British superstar posted a statement on social media:  

Lewis Hamilton @LewisHamilton

<a href="https://t.co/r2EJzzW63c">pic.twitter.com/r2EJzzW63c</a>

Hamilton, who didn't sign his contract for the 2021 season until February, accepted an adjusted salary for the campaign because of the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic but will return to his prior earnings of around £40 million annually in the new deal, according to BBC's Andrew Benson.

Wolff said the veteran driver is still at the "peak of his powers" and noted the team worked quickly to get the agreement finalized so they can focus on the Formula One season.

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

Hamilton sits second in the standings (138 points) heading into Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. Max Verstappen (156) leads the way in what's shaping up as a two-team race with third-placed Sergio Perez yet to crack the 100-point mark (96).

Verstappen (four wins) and Hamilton (three) have won all but one of the eight races so far during the 23-event season.

Hamilton, who won his first Formula One title in 2008, is the series' four-time defending champion. His seven championships are also tied with German legend Michael Schumacher for the most in history.

The 98-time race winner, the only Black driver in F1, has also led a push for more diversity in the sport and explained in March it's time to take the new step following silent protests such as taking a knee:

"I don't think it's the most important thing that everyone takes the knee, it's more the action we take in the background. Things pass and die down. It's important it continues to be an issue that affects my day to day life and so many people.
"It's really important to continue having that conversation, continuing to hold uncomfortable conversations with people. Because change is possible and change is needed. We will see how we can collectively work together so we are leading more in this sport and it is not necessarily having to be taking the knee."

Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013 after six years with McLaren to begin his Formula One career.