Ending months of speculation over a possible move to Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes has been renewed. This new contract ensures that Hamilton is with the team through to 2018. Prior to his stint at Mercedes, Hamilton was with McLaren for 6 years, until 2013 when he joined Mercedes. This ensures Hamilton stays on with his teammate and closest rival, Nico Rosberg. Rosberg, who trails his British teammate by 20 points in the championship standings, has made the podium with Hamilton every race this season so far.
There had also been talk of Hamilton’s alleged rivalry with Rosberg, rumours that the two did not get along due to Hamilton’s apparent ‘need for primacy over Rosberg’ and negotiations for higher pay. Rosberg, when questioned, spoke about a rider in his contract that specified that “both drivers be treated equally”, sparking speculation that this had been a concern for Rosberg himself. Hamilton did not comment at the time, saying on several separate occasions that ‘talks were on’ and that he was sure they would reach an amicable solution.
Hamilton, who recently split with his management team, was said to be negotiating the ‘highest pay in Formula 1 history’, but no rumours were confirmed of this. Meanwhile, speculation was rife that Ferrari were eyeing up Hamilton – fueled by the fact that Ferrari had not, and still has not renewed Kimi Raikkonen’s contract. However, team principal Maurizio Arrivabene completely shut down any speculation, stating in no uncertain terms that he was ‘extremely happy with Kimi as a driver’, and that the contract renewal issue was mere ‘psychological pressure.’ He also went on to say that he had one world champion (Sebastian Vettel) and did not need anything else.”
30-year-old Hamilton was “extremely happy” with the decision, describing the team in glowing terms. "Mercedes is my home and I couldn't be happier to be staying here for another three years," he said. "The Mercedes car I am driving right now is the best I have ever had in my career, t's just so much fun to be out there every weekend, on the limit and fighting to win at every track."
Hamilton has had an extremely successful run with Mercedes so far – he has won 3 of the first Formula 1 races this year and made the podium each time, and a total of 15 races with Mercedes so far. 11 of those were won beating his German teammate Nico Rosberg.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also praised Hamilton, describing their collaboration as the “strongest driver pairing in Formula 1.”