Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2015

Hamilton commits to Mercedes for three more years

2015 Monaco Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2015Lewis Hamilton has extended his contract to drive for Mercedes for a further three years, the team has confirmed.

“Mercedes is my home and I couldn’t be happier to be staying here for another three years,” said Hamilton.

“The Mercedes car I am driving right now is the best I have ever had in my career; it’s just so much fun to be out there every weekend, on the limit and fighting to win at every track.”

“Mercedes-Benz began supporting me in 1998 so I am very proud that this contract means I will mark 20 years with Mercedes in 2018.”

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said the team had “taken the right amount of time” with the contract negotiations and “not rushed ourselves.”

“The result is a strong agreement that will enhance Lewis’ association with the Mercedes-Benz brand and that recognises and respects the market value of Lewis and of Mercedes in Formula One,” he added.

“Lewis’ sporting track record speaks for itself and he is a great personality for the company. Personally, I am looking forward to continuing to race with the strongest driver pairing in Formula One and to more historic achievements together.”

Hamilton joined Mercedes F1 team from McLaren in 2013 on a three-year deal, and won his second world championship with the team last season.

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63 comments on “Hamilton commits to Mercedes for three more years”

  1. So hopefully, no more Hamilton to Ferrari rumours for at least another 2 seasons.

    When does Rosberg’s contract expire? That’s the seat a lot of drivers in the f1 paddock must be eyeing

    1. @todfod I’m not going to read too much into this. Contracts seem to be meaningless in F1 in this era, especially with performance-based clauses and so forth. Rosberg’s contract expires at the end of 2016, but so did Fernando Alonso’s contract with Ferrari.

      1. I don’t think that Mercedes will be the team to beat in 2017.
        They have the strongest PU, and might still have it in 2017, but that is not enough (there are other teams using MB PU’s).
        Every successful team was based on years of preparation and bringing everything together. IMO Lowe/Wolff are not as strong as Brawn to lead the future success of the team.
        Also all successful teams seem to relax a bit and are always caught out when the next contender team steps up.

        I’ll bookmark this comment and review it during the 2017 season.

        1. there are other teams using MB PU’s

          That’s rather the point though, surely? The fastest of them was a second behind Rosberg in Spain quali. Mercedes have got a synergy between engine and chassis no-one else can match, and (just as with RB) it’ll take a rule-change to knock them off the spot.

        2. @coldfly, I am not quite sure whom you are suggesting could usurp Mercedes by 2017 – is that comment about other Mercedes powered teams meant to imply that the engine performance advantage might not be enough?

          If so, Mercedes’s advantage is not coming purely from its engine – several other teams have indicated that Mercedes has a noticeable aerodynamic performance advantage.
          In fact, these days it is probably the chassis rather than the engine which is helping Mercedes stand out – Williams have suggested that Ferrari’s engine is virtually as powerful as Mercedes’s engine in race trim.

          It is not impossible that Mercedes will be beaten in 2017, but at the moment Mercedes’s current position means they are more likely than not to be leading the pack in 2017 – as Charles points out, a team that starts out as the most competitive during a particular regulation period will tend to hold onto that particular advantage until the rules are changed (Red Bull from 2009-2013, Ferrari from 2000-2004 etc.).

        3. Bit premature, but I think your prediction was spot on :)

  2. Absolutely the correct decision from both parties. Hamilton stays in a car which looks like dominating for at least the rest of this season and probably all of next. Mercedes retain a driver who has made very few mistakes and complements the dominating car.

    Having Rosberg means they have a driver who can pick up the win on an off-weekend for Hamilton such as Rosberg. I think Rosberg is a very competent driver, but in my opinion is only truly capable of beating Hamilton when he is on fire and Lewis is not.

    They’re a great team and deserve their success… just hope Ferrari/Williams/Red Bull/McLaren can catch up soon and really challenge them!

    1. @ben-n I believe that history will look back on Nico Rosberg as a very good driver who simply had the misfortune of having one of the sport’s all time greats as a team mate at a time when he just happened to be at the peak of his powers.

      Not surprised about this announcement at all either. Makes total sense for both Hamilton and Mercedes.

      1. @willwood – glad you agree. I think last season was a great opportunity for him due to circumstances falling on his side, but all things being equal, Hamilton clearly has the edge.

        To his credit, he certainly seems to be comparing more favourably to Hamilton than Webber did to Vettel post-2010.

      2. Well said and I agree almost completely. I for one will remember Nico as someone who resorted to unsportsmanlike conduct to win because he knew he couldn’t win in a fair field.

        1. @motor lol I don’t think that can be his only legacy, but once a year yes we’ll remember him by that.

          1. Only once a year?

      3. @willwood

        I believe that history will look back on Nico Rosberg as a very good driver who simply had the misfortune of having one of the sport’s all time greats as a team mate at a time when he just happened to be at the peak of his powers.

        Sort of like Mark Webber, David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello? I think I’d agree with that.

      4. A bit like Rubens and Michael. Rubens was convinced he would beat Schumacher but in reality Barrichello was nowhere near fast enough.

    2. @ben-n @willwood I would summarise your discussion by saying there are plenty of world champions who I do not rate as highly as Nico; his dad is probably one of them. However with likely future champions like Vandoorne, Bottas, Ricciardo, Ocon and Verstappen hanging about the place, does F1 have time for “nearly-men” anymore?

      1. @countrygent – totally agree with this as well. It’s all subjective of course, but I don’t think Nico is anything like average; you simply have to look at how close he is to Lewis (sometimes in front) at most races to see how good he is.

        To be a little controversial and to take a tangent from your comment, I’m still unconvinced by Bottas so far…

        1. @ben-n – Well, apart from perhaps Vandoorne, there is an arguable level of query over the abilities of all the drivers I mentioned. Was Ricciardo really a superstar in 2014, or just being compared to a wounded champion? But yes, Bottas is perhaps the most vulnerable to these queries, because his fight with the man that scored less than half of the points of Alonso during their partnership has probably been closer than it should have been, and Maldonado outperformed Valtteri in the races in 2013.

          As a Bottas-believer I think the potential seen by many in Bottas is more stylistic than results based. It is a devotion, on-track and off. It is a clarity of thought in high pressure situations. It is a smooth but devastatingly quick driving style. For me, those are the ingredients of a champion, of the kind of driver that is in demand at the expensive end of the grid..I bet he looks good in red too…

          I don’t suppose Bernie will be excited by the prospect of unassuming and reasonably shy Finn as champion.

          1. Ferrari(Arrivabene) knows his teammate really well and now regard VB highly(Bottas is regarded highly by many senior people in the paddock indeed). I understand that his famous teammate is underrated by many people including some VB’s fans.

      2. Ocon can concide with Lewis at Mercedes down the road if Bottas is not hired before that…

  3. Wow, what a surprise! I almost thought he was going to go on a switch deal with Alonso!

    1. He said he’s happy with his car, best of his career, so David Coulthard lied to us when he said every driver hates these cars :)

      1. @jcost, I’d also say I’m happy with my mother in law; the best I ever had! That doesn’t mean DC was wrong ;-)

        PS – any news on the McLaren title sponsorship?

  4. I don’t know if it’s just me but everytime I read a article on Hamilton and Mercedes, I get the sense that Hamilton wishes he never was at McLaren. I mean comments such as “Mercedes began supporting me in 1998” when it was actually McLaren supporting him; was it Ron Dennis that he went up to to say that he wanted to drive for his team or was it Norbert Haug in disguise? I know Mercedes was an engine partner to McLaren at that time but it was more McLaren than Mercedes that supported Hamilton. Also the fact that he says Mercedes is his home when he clearly said that McLaren will always be his home when he left in 2012. As for the car, I suspect he means relative performance compared to the competition rather than the absolute best car he’s driven because on pure laptime, the W06 would get thrashed by some of McLaren’s Hamilton has driven. I suspect I’m going to get a lot of negativity about this post from Hamilton fanatics but it’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it. Btw, I’m not a Hamilton hater, I’m actually one of his fans.

    1. One rumour I read was that during 2012 Ron talked down Lewis to Dieter Zetsche, trying to nobble the move, and Lewis found out. But I dunno, drivers always talk up their relationship with their current team.

    2. I think its More Merc’s PR team telling him to say his association with Mercedes was as strong as it was with Mclaren. Honestly, he has always been driving a Mercedes engine in F1, so he does have an association as well.

      It’s silly to think Lewis doesn’t have fond memories of his time at Mclaren. He did enjoy a solid stint there with great team spirit. Relationships never end with all hugs and kisses, or else, they wouldn’t end. I really doubt he despises them or even Ron Dennis.

      If you asked me whether Lewis is more likely to drive for Mclaren again or Ferrari, I would honestly think a Mclaren comeback is more likely (as long as Mclaren doesn’t keep up their 2015 form that is ;) )

  5. The doors keep closing on Alonso one after other.

    1. He was so unlucky in 2010. There could still be time though, if the current formula allows them to carry on longer like touring cars. Mansell was 39 istr, and by 2017 Bernie will be ready for someone other than Lewis.

      1. Why was he unlucky in 2010? Because he didn’t pick Red Bull?

        1. I was thinking of Abu Dhabi @matt90, when he was set for the title until the team plonked him behind that Renault.

          1. @lockup I think the active role Alonso played in that strategy tends to get overlooked. It’s not fair on Ferrari to suggest what they were doing didn’t have Alonso’s blessing.

          2. Interesting @keithcollantine, my hazy memory had been that Alonso queried the call. Still, I felt it was the team’s responsibility to know about the Renault’s traction and top speed. Same for McLaren although they could see iirc that Lewis was starting to lose time to Kubica so their hands were tied. Teams are the ones with the big picture, is my model, while the drivers just know about grip and tyres.

    2. I don’t think this door was open-ever.

    3. Paul (@frankjaeger)
      20th May 2015, 15:19

      Why do people persist to think Alonso is discontent with McLaren and where they will in 2016/2017? They have a bad car atm but development seems good. If a driver was free to switch teams to give them the best shot of winning the title, they wouldn’t last a season with one outfit. Just because the car is bad atm doesn’t mean he must switch immediately or even want to switch

  6. I do not think that it was the right decision by Hamilton to extend his contract to Mercedes for another three years. I would have prefered to see him extend for two more years and then go back to McLaren-Honda (with KevMag as team-mate) for one year and then to Ferrari for two years.

    1. Err, no, Hamilton at Ferrari would seem odd and unfitting. I don´t think the Tifosi would be liking that too much, or that he´d be fitting well into the atmosphere and mentality.

      1. Becken Lima
        21st May 2015, 5:03

        Every single day, I read people suggesting that Hamilton wouldn’t fit into Ferrari “atmosphere and mentality.”

        What exactly would that be?

        Please, enlighten us and be more specific on how a double world champion and a super professional driver like Lewis wouldn’t fit into organization like Ferrari.

        Obviously, Kimi, the ice cream man, fit into the atmosphere; the super hot head Alonso too; Gilles, the wildest F1 driver ever, fit into Ferrari team…

        But not Hamilton.

        but I can guess why he can’t fit into a team like Ferrari…

    2. Thank God Lewis did not hire you to manage his career…

    3. @dam00r

      Well, Mercedes wanted to sign him for another five years. He got a good deal IMHO.

  7. It’s been a long time coming, this deal.

    What with the global recession I’m sure we can all relax knowing that Lewis is finally earning a living wage after years on the breadline.

    1. He might now not be “hungry” anymore. lol

  8. digitalrurouni
    20th May 2015, 15:39

    Well done. He deserved/earned it. Now let’s hope for actual cars that can be driven on the limit…not limit of the tires. This is the most boring F1 season I have seen to date. These cars are so freaking slow. I am a Hamilton fan and I am enjoying that he is winning but my god even the red bull domination seemed more interesting because the cars actually looked like they were hauling rear! These cars are quiet and I am on board with that. Now they have the horsepower which is great. But these tires and the aero and being unable to follow a car to overtake most of the time without DRS…jeeez.

  9. Lewis is worth every penny, if Vettel is on 50m and Alonso is on 30m. Well Lewis is the Champ. Let’s face it they are the top three drivers in F1. I’d put Lewis currently at the top. I have upgraded my opinion of Vettel and put him a close second, with Alonso third but on the wean. Vettel has four and the other two have two, but only Hamilton has a WDC with two teams. Hamilton seems to know the right time to leave a team and join the correct team. Maybe Vettel does too! Alonso is crap in this area, more than once….

    1. Vettel isn’t actually on 50m a year. His salary is weird in the sense that it continues to degrade into his contract, it’s skewed by the sign on bonus he was given. I think when you average everything else they are all on around about the same amount, of course this varies on the performance bonuses each driver has.

      What I wonder is if Lewis has finally got his car into the contract, so that he gets to keep it if he wins the championship or that he gets his 2014 championship car?

      1. I think it was quite common practice to get your old F1 car in the past. Watching F1 Legends on Sky F1 when they get interviewed they are often seen sitting next to a collection of their old race cars.

        1. I agree, I think any driver who wins a championship should be offered the chance to keep the car. Yes like Red Bull has done with Vettel enough time needs to of passed to ensure that the car cant be of use to a new team but I’d bet having your championship winning car sitting in your home would mean more than another few million a year.

          Something tells me that this would of been on of the clauses Hamilton was fighting for in the contract, and given how open/more relaxed Mercedes are compared to Mclaren, for example could you imagine Ron Dennis allowing Hamilton to buy a La Ferrari while driving for Mclaren? With that in mind I’d say there is a good chance keeping his car is now in the contract, maybe with performance clauses attached to it.

    2. respectfully, i put Hamilton 3rd, and by a long way given the past 5 years of racing. Alonso 1st, Vettel very close 2nd, and Hamilton a distant 3rd with other drivers popping up to third race by race. Hamilton only barely beat a 5th/6th rate driver in Rosberg last year.

      1. Your beloved Alonso has always said that Hamilton is one of the best and that Vettel is not in the same level as Lewis.

        1. I’m not agreeing with kpcart, but FA always seemed to hold a grudge against Vettel, after being denied his 3rd title by him not once, but 3 times.

        2. Yeah, there’s an objective viewpoint, completely devoid of any hint of politics or petulance! Because that’s the sort of man Alonso is …

      2. By your reasoning how on earth do you rate Vettel given that he had a team mate who wasn’t even a 5th/6th rate driver? People like you forget that Hamilton finished 2nd in his rookie year ahead of Alonso who finished 3rd and he outqualified Fernando too. Who is to say that Hamilton could not have done better in that Ferrari had it been Lewis and not Fernando? Also people like you forget that Hamilton had his first constructors winning car last year. That in itself speaks volumes.

        1. @davej –

          Also people like you forget that Hamilton had his first constructors winning car last year.

          The 2007 Mclaren would have had thr WCC, if not for being DQ’d.

    3. The bonuses are estimated to be worth £30. So, £90 million for three years PLUS £30 in bonuses (£10m/year)

  10. lewis has the best car for another 3 years, but if he wants to emulate his hero senna, he needs to destroy Rosberg by 1.5 seconds in qualifying in a few days in Monaco (like Senna did to Prost) and start taking wins in Monaco. though i suspect Rosberg will be on pole again and win again.

    1. No one will drive Monaco like Senna. I don’t believe a lot of the mysticism BS Senna talked about, but he did seem to be actually in a spiritual trance at Monaco. (Except when he binned it on his own that time.)

      I think Rosberg will win pole again. But Hamilton could still win on the undercut. It’s only the SC period last time that saved Rosberg.

    2. If Senna wanted to be considered alongside Hamilton he needed to make a lot fewer mistakes :)) It woulda helped if he hadn’t lost to Prost, too.

    3. Given how these drivers are so close together in talent I struggle to think of any one driver who has outqualified his team mate by 1,5s consistently in recent history.

    4. The days of drivers regularly beating team-mates by one to two seconds is in the past. The cars are better engineered, more consistent, more reliable and the drivers have much greater data and analysis to use to get close to the optimum that the differences now tend to be smaller. The fact that Hamilton can’t dominate his team by the same time margin is no a reflection on him as a driver.

      The fact is that today’s drivers are closer to the car’s ultimate limit in terms of lap time than Senna would ever have been able to get. If Senna had been driving today’s F1 cars he would not be able to put in the differences in quali that he did more than two decades ago.

      1. Also the data and driver help from the team on improving on any sectors or corners etc for a driver that is a little behind make it impossible for a driver to out-qualify another like that.
        I believe Hamilton has an ability to out-qualify Rosberg by half a second or more if they took the car out of the trucks and immediately had qualifying.
        In the start of the weakened when the car is not yet perfectly set-up most times Hamilton can still drive it very fast while Rosberg looks to not be able to pull as much speed out of it until he analyzes it and perfect the set-up.

  11. The sticking point that caused delays was Lewis request that team personnel bring a mirror to the green room (so he can check his hair) every time he finishes top 3.

  12. I think this is very long term, but he knows it.

  13. Wait… why didnt you use this image ?

  14. Good news! Then Ham to McLaren or Ferrari in 2019.

  15. Why do people persist to think Alonso is discontent with McLaren and where they will in 2016/2017? They have a bad car atm but development seems good. If a driver was free to switch teams to give them the best shot of winning the title, they wouldn’t last a season with one outfit. Just because the car is bad atm doesn’t mean he must switch immediately or even want to switch.

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