F1 champion Lewis Hamilton signs two-year contract extension with Mercedes

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Mercedes has won the past four drivers' and constructors' championships - with Hamilton clinching three of them - but this season is testing the Silver Arrows team.

Arguably more interesting is the knock-on effect that the Hamilton deal will have.

The Italian outfit were cleared following an FIA investigation at May's race in Monaco into their controversial battery system.

The seesaw championship fight has tilted back in the favor of Ferrari, with Vettel leading Hamilton after finishes of third and first in Austria and England. The 2005/2006 World Champion wants and deserves a drive in a title-winning vehicle but a seat is not going to become available for him amongst the "big three" and the Spaniard deciding to draw his 17 year F1 career to a close at the end of 2018 looks inevitable.

"I don't know when or what and ultimately who (my teammate will be)".

"I would be happy to continue like that, but it is not for me to mention or to decide", said Vettel. Hamilton clarified he had never actively looked for an opportunity elsewhere and, having committed to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff at early stage, did not use other offers to bargain.

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'I'm excited for you to see how things unfold.

"We have been aligned with Lewis ever since we first sat down to discuss the details of this contract after last season, but there has understandably been a lot of interest and speculation around the whole process, so it's good to put all of that to rest and get this thing announced", Wolff said.

Mercedes refused to elaborate on their man's cryptic comments, but Hamilton's sense of injustice is fuelling an increasingly fractious and personal contest.

F1 World champion Lewis Hamilton has put pen to paper on a new mega deal with Mercedes that will see the 33-year old earn even more big bucks than he already does.

Their duel went up a gear at Silverstone where, after denying Hamilton a record sixth victory on home soil, Vettel said he was 'leaving with the British flag to hang in Maranello [Ferrari's factory]'.

Conversely, Hamilton has won in Germany three times, including twice at Hockenheim (2008 and 2016).

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'It's something we can work with and it doesn't affect me whatsoever.

"We will keep our heads down, keep ourselves quiet and focus on trying to do a better job across the board", he added.

"We did the same previous year with Charles and it was a good first step in the collaboration". "So, we can take our time".

"I am sure there will be positive news soon".

Thursday's announcement is now likely to trigger other driver decisions, with Australian Daniel Ricciardo set to remain with Red Bull but waiting for Mercedes to set out their plans.

Key moves have been made in the driver market this weekend, with Mercedes confirming both its drivers for at least another year.

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