Mercedes F1 team wins race to lock in 2019 driver lineup

Mercedes F1 team wins race to lock in 2019 driver lineup

Mercedes F1 team wins race to lock in 2019 driver lineup

Moments after informing the team radio that his gears had stopped working, Lewis Hamilton jumped out of his auto and attempted to push it back to the pitlane as he desperately tried to avoid elimination in the first round of qualifying.

Despite the long-running saga over whether Hamilton would sign on again with the team, Mercedes were confident the deal would be done and said they were waiting for the "right time" to announce it.

It could prove a huge moment in the title race with Hamilton now eight points adrift of Ferrari ace Sebastian Vettel ahead of Sunday's race in Germany.

"Mercedes has become Lewis' home in Formula 1 and his story is linked forever with the silver and green of Mercedes-AMG", he added.

Sebastian Vettel said Thursday he is more concerned with trying to win his home German Grand Prix than giving any consideration to rival Lewis Hamilton's blockbuster two-year contract extension.

Ferrari and Red Bull were the only other viable options for Hamilton given the gulf in performance between the top three and the midfield, and he revealed that one team attempted to open negotiations with him.

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Unlike most drivers in F1, Hamilton negotiates his contracts himself and said it had helped build trust with Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

Next year will also see Red Bull switch from Renault to Honda engines and Sainz believes there is now little difference between the two manufacturers, although he considers the French marque to be on the verge of serious development in the next couple of years. "There is not one more important". I think the high temperatures we had today could probably have an impact somehow, but we don't know exactly what the weather will be like.

Hamilton's new contract goes to the end of the Concorde Agreement, with a new set of rules and regulations for F1 set for 2021 onward. This was my third contract with the team and I'm just really, really excited about the plan.

As to his future beyond 2020, when he could join Ferrari alongside Vettel, or have the German join him at Mercedes, he said it was "impossible to say where I am going to be".

"This is something I've never seen from him before. I am very happy". His number of wins is second only to seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher's tally of 91.

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