The wait is finally over.
“I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes teammates,” 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.”
While there was little doubt that Hamilton would resign with Mercedes for his ninth season with the team, time was an issue as both Hamilton and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff both tested positive for COVID-19 at different times. This delayed talks even further, leaving Hamilton’s seat as the last to be filled for the 2021 starting grid. Hamilton will ride alongside teammate Valtteri Bottas for the fifth-consecutive season after Bottas signed a one-year extension back in August, guaranteeing him the second Mercedes seat for the 2021 season. However, with Hamilton and Bottas’ contract expiring after this season and with up-and-comer George Russell, who replaced Hamilton in the Sakhir Grand Prix, not having a contract with Williams Racing after this season, the future of Mercedes is up in the air beyond the 2021 season. Despite the uncertainty, Mercedes will push for an eighth-straight constructor’s championship and Hamilton will compete for his eighth world championship.
“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 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. Lewis’s competitive record stands alongside the best the sports world has ever seen, and he is a valued ambassador for our brand and our partners. The story of Mercedes and Lewis has written itself into the history books of our sport over the past eight seasons, and we are hungry to compete and to add more chapters to it.”
With Hamilton resigned, all 20 seats for the 2021 starting grid are now filled. The 2021 Formula 1 season will begin on Mar. 28 for the Bahrain Grand Prix.