Lewis Hamilton has ‘unfinished business’ after extending Mercedes contract – rezal404

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain smiles during a news conference at the Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy , Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023. The Formula one race will be held on Sunday. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

MONZA, Italy — Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton warned his rivals he had “unfinished business” after extending his contract at Mercedes.

Hamilton and teammate George Russell penned new deals through to the end of the 2025 season.

“You’re all stuck with me for a little longer,” Hamilton said with a smile on Thursday at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. “Honestly, I couldn’t be happier to be extending with this team.

“We’ve had such an incredible journey together. Mercedes have supported me since I was 13, such a long trip, and we still have unfinished business. We’re in this together, we’ve got a lot of work to do to get us back to the front but there’s no place I’d rather be.”

Hamilton’s current contract was to expire at the end of this season. The new deal, which is worth a reported 50 million pounds ($63.4 million), will see him racing past his 40th birthday.

“I definitely didn’t think I would be at the age that I am and feel the way that I do physically and mentally and still love what I’m doing as much as I do,” the 38-year-old Hamilton said. “That’s something I’m incredibly grateful for.

“For me, it’s a journey of love, still to have that love, still loving the car, still love racing with my peers … chasing that goal and dream. I love that feeling when you have those together. There’s nothing like it.”

Lewis Hamilton F1 hungarian grand prix

Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) and Red Bull Racing’s Mexican driver Sergio Perez (R) compete during the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring race track in Mogyorod near Budapest on July 23, 2023. (Photo by Ferenc ISZA / AFP)

Thursday’s news ended speculation he would leave Mercedes at the end of the season, amid reports he was being courted by Ferrari. Despite the difficulties of the past two seasons, he said he was never in doubt as to where his future lay.

Hamilton has been at Mercedes since 2013 and won six of his seven world titles with the team. But he has had a relatively poor past two years, since Max Verstappen controversially pipped him to the F1 title on the last lap of the 2021 season.

Hamilton and Mercedes have been playing catchup ever since.

Verstappen comes into this weekend chasing a record-breaking 10th straight victory. Hamilton, who has a record 103 race wins, has not stepped foot on the top spot of the podium in two years.

“I’m not really a revenge person, it’s not about revenge, it’s not about redemption,” Hamilton said. “That’s in the past, there’s nothing we can do about the past.

“What we can do is work harder … I truly believe that with this team we can win more championships and more races together. That’s where my energy is going.”

Hamilton is fourth in the standings, 183 points behind runaway leader Verstappen, who has deposed the British driver as No. 1 in the series.

The duo have had a fierce and heated rivalry through the years but Verstappen is glad his adversary is sticking around.

“It’s good for the sport,” Verstappen said. “With the battles, I mean, we just have to wait and see what happens between the teams. And how everyone is going to perform next year as well.”

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