Lewis Hamilton has finally inked a new contract with Mercedes, with the seven-time Formula 1 champion agreeing to a one-year deal.
The contract announced on Monday only covers the 2021 F1 season.
The Brit had delayed talks with the team due to the pandemic, before testing positive for the virus himself towards the end of last year.
Contract negotiations then stalled in early January when Mercedes reportedly opposed Hamilton’s financial demands.
His ninth season with the Mercedes outfit sees him partner Valtteri Bottas for a fifth successive season.
“I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes team-mates,” said Hamilton.
“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.”
Interestingly, Hamilton’s new deal only covers the 2021 season, suggesting he may be holding out for something bigger in the long-term.
After clinching his seventh world title at the Turkish Grand Prix last year, he said he has only reached the peak of his performance, and that he aims to continue racing in the sport for several more years.
“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,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.
“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.”
Hamilton now completes the full 2021 grid, with the season scheduled to begin with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28.
2021 Formula 1 grid:
|Team||Driver 1||Driver 2|
|Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas|
|Red Bull||Max Verstappen||Sergio Perez|
|Ferrari||Charles Leclerc||Carlos Sainz|
|McLaren||Daniel Ricciardo||Lando Norris|
|Aston Martin||Sebastian Vettel||Lance Stroll|
|Haas||Mick Schumacher||Nikita Mazepin|
|Alfa Romeo||Kimi Raikkonen||Antonio Giovinazzi|
|AlphaTauri||Pierre Gasly||Yuki Tsunoda|
|Apline||Fernando Alonso||Esteban Ocon|
|Williams||Nicholas Latifi||George Russell|