David Coulthard: Lewis Hamilton deserves his £40m a year

File Mercedes British driver Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes obviously did not divulge Hamilton's retainer but it rumored to be in excess of £40 pounds - or $50 million - million a year, a number that would elevate Hamilton to the ranks of the highest-paid British sportsmen of all time.

"This contract extension has basically been a formality since Toto and I sat down during the winter, so it's good to put pen to paper, announce it and then get on with business as usual", said Lewis.

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.

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.

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.

"Toto is a great human being and a great manager".

"I said from day one 'I am not looking anywhere else?"

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"I'm really pleased. I love working with this team, I love the team spirit, the atmosphere in the team and everyone is pushing so hard for the results".

"The one thing that shows is the trust we have between each other". "Now we take the English flag and hang it in Maranello".

And Daniel Ricciardo, who will start last after taking a number of engine penalties, reckons Hamilton will be joining him.

Hamilton will be nearing his 36th birthday at the conclusion of his latest contract and he has made no secret of his desire to forge a career in fashion or music. It's just half an hour away where I was born and grew up. "I had a contract in place, I just didn't feel like I had to rush". "I think that's where the main problem is - Germany's not ready to spend money on having the race to advertise F1, advertise racing, advertise Germany to attract people coming here".

"This is something I've never seen from him before".

"I wasn't expecting to feel as excited as I am now in signing this extension. I am very happy".

Like Vettel, he is bidding to become the third driver in F1 history to win five titles, joining seven-time champion Michael Schumacher and five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio in that revered company.

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