Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton finally back with Mercedes for 2021

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) /

Lewis Hamilton has signed a one-year contract extension with no veto clause to remain with Mercedes for the 2021 Formula 1 season.

At long last, the 20-driver 2021 Formula 1 grid is set, as Mercedes and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton have reached an agreement just over one month before the scheduled start of preseason testing at Bahrain International Circuit.

Despite rumors of Hamilton wanting — and even already signing —  a multi-year deal with a veto clause that would effectively allow him to pick his future teammates, his deal is only a one-year deal that naturally doesn’t contain a veto clause since it does not guarantee the 36-year-old Briton a spot in the sport next year.

Both he and teammate Valtteri Bottas, who signed a one-year extension back in early August, are slated to be free agents after the 2021 season.

Here is what Hamilton had to say about returning to Mercedes for a ninth season in 2021.

"“I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes teammates. 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.”"

Here is what team principal Toto Wolff had to add.

"“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.“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.”"

The 2020 season saw Hamilton win his fourth consecutive world championship.

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It was his sixth in the last seven seasons, giving him seven all-time to tie Michael Schumacher for the all-time record.

His 11-win season, which was tied for a career-best despite the fact that the season was shortened from 22 races to 17 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and he missed one of those 17 races after testing positive for COVID-19, also propelled him past Schumacher’s wins record of 91. Hamilton now has 95 wins to his name.

The 2021 season should give him a great opportunity to become the sport’s first ever eight-time champion and the first driver to reach 100 wins, given the fact that he has won at least nine races in seven consecutive seasons.

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Preseason testing is scheduled to take place from Friday, March 12 to Sunday, March 14, and the Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled to open up the 23-race 2021 season at the same venue on Sunday, March 28 following a COVID-19 restriction-related schedule change.