The worst-kept secret in Formula 1 is out: Lewis Hamilton has signed a new two-year extension with Mercedes.
Hamilton, out of contract at the end of the 2018 season, was expected to commit his future to Mercedes before the start of the campaign.
However, talks have rumbled on throughout the year, leading to plenty of speculation ranging from retirement to re-signing for McLaren.
But the wait is now finally over after Mercedes confirmed that Hamilton will continue driving for the Silver Arrows until at least the end of the 2020 season before the new regulations come into effect.
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) July 19, 2018
The announcement will no doubt start the process of all the other pieces of the 2019 driver puzzle to fall into place, with Valtteri Bottas also expected to extend his stay with Mercedes.
It certainly sees the door starting to close on Daniel Ricciardo, who had been hoping for an opportunity to arise at either Mercedes or Ferrari, while Esteban Ocon had also set his sights on a Silver Arrows seat.
According to Forbes, Hamilton’s new deal is reportedly worth $170million, comfortably making him the highest-paid Formula 1 driver of all-time.