Mercedes Formula 1 team have secured the services of their star driver Lewis Hamilton for a further two seasons.
Hamilton, who won his seventh world championship last year, was on the last leg of his previous contract, which ended at the season’s end.
Contract extension discussion between Hamilton and Mercedes then dropped off the radar as the 36-year-old focused on this year’s championship.
“As we enter a new era of F1 from 2022 onwards, there can be no better driver to have in our team than Lewis,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said.
Wolff said that Hamilton is only at the peak of his talent, despite the Briton already holding records for race wins, pole positions and podiums.
One more championship title, and Hamilton will surpass Michael Schumacher for the most championship crowns.
“His achievements in this sport speak for themselves,” Wolff said. “With his experience, speed and racecraft, he is at the peak of his powers.”
By locking in Hamilton for the next two years, Mercedes now only have one available seat for 2022.
Teammate Valtteri Bottas has had a slump in form over the past two seasons.
The Finn hasn’t won a Grand Prix since Russia last year and is currently fifth in this season’s standings with a best finish of third.
Bottas’ contract is up for renewal at the end of the year, and it is looking increasingly likely that he will be replaced by one of Mercedes’ several junior drivers.
The leading candidate has emerged as George Russell, whose three-year deal with Williams ends this year.
Russell replaced Hamilton at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix when the latter fell ill with Covid-19.
Only a late-race puncture prevented Russell from winning the race, earning the praise of Mercedes.