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Hamilton, Russell renew contracts with Mercedes until 2025

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MONZA, Italy: Lewis Hamilton and George Russell renewed their contracts with Mercedes until 2025, the Formula One team announced on Thursday.

The Silver Arrows confirmed ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix that the pair would continue driving together in the next two seasons.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton currently sits fourth in the drivers' standings, 183 points behind leader and reigning champion Max Verstappen who at Monza is hunting a record-breaking 10th straight GP win.

Fellow Briton Russell is three places back on 99 points.

"We have never been hungrier to win. We have learnt from every success but also every setback... we continue to fight no matter the challenge and we will win again," said Hamilton in a statement.

"Being at the top does not happen overnight or over a short period of time, it takes commitment, hard work and dedication and it's been an honour to earn our way into the history books with this incredible team.

"I'm grateful to the team who have supported me both on and off the track. Our story isn't finished, we are determined to achieve more together and we won't stop until we do."

Hamilton will extend his F1 career beyond his 40th birthday with Mercedes, where he won six of his drivers' titles between 2014 and 2020.

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The 38-year-old is reportedly set to earn around £50 million ($63.4 million) a season with Mercedes after renewing a contract which was set to expire at the end of the current campaign.

Mercedes' announcement brings to an end speculation over Hamilton's future as they struggle to compete with dominant Red Bull who have won every GP so far this season.

Hamilton relinquished his position as the number one driver in F1 in 2021 when he was controversially beaten to the drivers' title by Verstappen on the final day of the season.

Last season he failed to win or claim pole position at any GP for the first time in his career, while this year he is yet to add to his record 103 race victories.

July's pole in Budapest was his first in 33 GPs, and he finished the race in fourth after making a poor start in a race won by Verstappen.

Retirement looked increasingly likely come the end of the year, in particular because Mercedes has struggled to adapt to changes to technical requirements which came into force at the start of the year.

Mercedes sit second in the constructors' championship standings but trail Red Bull by a whopping 285 points. -- AFP

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