World Champion Lewis Hamilton says extending his Formula 1 contract through 2023 was “much, much easier” than the process of ratifying his 2021 stay.
Hamilton has been with Mercedes since 2013 but his previous deal expired at the end of 2020.
A new contract, covering only the 2021 season, was not finalised until early February, after various delays on both sides.
Mercedes confirmed at the Austrian Grand Prix that Hamilton will remain part of the team through the 2023 season.
“It was a lot smoother than it was in December and January,” said Hamilton on contract discussions.
“I had a lot on over Christmas and New Year, so it was a stressful period. Naturally, we were doing this over Zoom, which is not always the most productive when you are having these conversations. “This one was much, much easier. Toto [Wolff] and I spent a lot more time together face-to-face.
“The past contract [for 2021] was meant to be a two-year deal, it was potentially going to be a two-year deal and I asked for it to be a one-year deal.
“Obviously we’d been through a pandemic and there was so much change in the world. Also, I was unsure whether I would continue or not.
“I had the best and most enjoyable start of the year, enjoyed the fight that we’re having, and the best thing was to get this done before the summer break, which is obviously next month. Now we can just focus on being the best team we can be.”
Hamilton went on to praise the co-operation of senior figures within Mercedes parent company Daimler both in negotiations and with their long-term vision.
“In the past I remember times we didn’t want to do it [discussions] during the season because it’s stressful to have those conversations,” he said.
“It’s been a much, much better process this time and it’s happened real quick. Toto was fantastic in the negotiations. Ola [Kallenius, Daimler Chairman] and the board have been incredibly supportive.
“It’s a great commitment from them and a great commitment I think from myself to continue to stay aligned with Mercedes, knowing the things that we face moving forwards and the changes and improvements that we can make.”