After months of speculation, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have confirmed today that they will continue their partnership, post 2015, with Hamilton signing a contract extension which will keep him at Brackley until the end of 2018. Ultimately, this announcement was rather a matter of when rather than if, particularly following Hamilton’s title success last season and the strength that Mercedes have shown under the sport’s current technical guise.
“Mercedes is my home,” the Briton declared.
“I couldn’t be happier to be staying here for another three years,” he continued. “This is a company filled with real passionate racers, from the board room to the factory floor, and an incredible hunger to win.”
Hamilton was widely criticised in 2012, when he announced that he would be leaving a then fast, albeit unreliable, McLaren outfit to join a team which were experiencing prolonged spells in the anonymous regions of the top ten. However, it soon became apparent that he had left Woking for Brackley at an opportune moment.
While I take pride in being one of those who correctly predicted that the move was the correct decision at the time, I was among many who were surprised by the success Lewis enjoyed in his very first year at Mercedes. For a decision made with long-term aspirations in mind, five pole positions and a race victory was an excellent short-term return, particularly considering that Hamilton faced an uncomfortable start to the season on unfamiliar brake material.
From the moment that the move was announced, all eyes became fixed on 2014 – the project which would take the Silver Arrows to the front of the field after the team had been turned inside out. The intense battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg would eventually go to the wire and despite the relationship becoming strained to the point of fracture in some instances such as Monaco and Spa, Mercedes came through the adversity with both drivers still hooked to the sport’s leading team.
It is therefore, no surprise that Hamilton “couldn’t be happier.” The deal was the obvious choice for both parties and now the discussions as to the double World Champion’s future can be cast into the archives. Hamilton has negotiated a deal that works for him and the team have secured the services of one of the sport’s top names for the coming years. However, the phrase, ‘everyone’s a winner’ cannot be coined until the results provide the validation.
Image Credit: "Soaking the glory" By Pedrik via Flickr [CC-BY-2.0]