Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has agreed a two-year contract extension with Mercedes.
There has been persistent speculation over whether the Briton, who has won three of the last four drivers' championship titles, would agree to a new deal.
Mercedes, though, have long since maintained their confidence that the two parties will come to terms and announced on Thursday that Hamilton will be with the team for at least the next two seasons, the deal reportedly worth £40million.
Hamilton said: "This contract extension has basically been a formality since [Mercedes CEO] Toto [Wolff] and I sat down during the winter, so it's good to put pen to paper, announce it and then get on with business as usual.
"I have been part of the Mercedes racing family for 20 years and I have never been happier inside a team than I am right now. We are on the same wavelength both on and off track - and I am looking forward to winning more in the future and shining even more light on the three-pointed star.
"I'm very confident that Mercedes is the right place to be over the coming years. Although we have enjoyed so much success together since 2013, Mercedes is hungrier than ever - from Dr [Dieter] Zetsche and the board members at the top of Daimler, through Toto and the team management, to every single person I meet in the corridors of Brixworth and Brackley.
I have been in the Mercedes Family since 1998. I am forever grateful for their continued support, love and protection over these years. I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved together and even more excited for the future! @MercedesAMGF1 #grateful #letsgo #announcelewis pic.twitter.com/sXo0UnKeIs— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) July 19, 2018
"The competitive passion that burns bright inside me is shared by every single member of this group - always chasing the next improvement and digging even deeper to make sure we come out on top. I can't wait to see what we can achieve together in the next two and a half seasons."
Wolff added: "We have been aligned with Lewis ever since we first sat down to discuss the details of this contract after last season, but there has understandably been a lot of interest and speculation around the whole process, so it's good to put all of that to rest and get this thing announced.
"We signed the final documents this week and didn't want to keep people waiting any longer! There is not much about Lewis as a Formula One driver that hasn't been said already - he is one of the all-time greats and his track record speaks for itself.
"But what I enjoy most about working with him is getting to know the man inside the racing helmet: his relentless drive for self-improvement, his emotional intelligence as a team member and his loyalty to those around him.
"Mercedes has become Lewis' home in Formula One and his story is linked forever with the silver and green of Mercedes-AMG Petronas. I am very confident that we have some incredible chapters of our story together still to come."
Hamilton has won 65 races in his F1 career, putting him second on the all-time list behind Michael Schumacher, and 44 of those victories have come with Mercedes, who he joined in 2013 after ending a six-year spell with McLaren in which he won one world title.
He holds the record for pole positions in F1 with 76 and is also second on the all-time list for podiums with 124.
Hamilton sits second in the drivers' championship going into this weekend's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, eight points behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
13. Dezember 2018
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