Dominant. That's really the only term we could use to describe the marriage of Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes F1 team. And now they've signed a new contract.

The subject of prolonged speculation, the reigning world champion and his team have announced a new three-year deal that will see Hamilton driving a Silver Arrow at least through the end of 2018. That's good news for Hamilton, who has only ever driven Mercedes-powered cars in Formula One, and for Mercedes, which has secured its star driver for years to come.

Although details of the deal (as usual) were not disclosed, the BBC reports that it could be worth as much as $40 million each year. Hamilton's base salary is said to come in at $31 million per season, with extensive bonuses for winning races and championships – something at which Lewis and Benz have proven particularly adept.

Racing fans will be well schooled in the trajectory of Hamilton's meteoric rise. He climbed the formula racing ladder with support from Mercedes and McLaren, winning the Formula 3 Euro Series and GP2 championships before hitting the F1 grid for McLaren in 2007 – and quite nearly locking the championship in his first season. He won his first F1 title in 2008, then struggled with the Woking team in subsequent seasons but kept winning races, switching to Mercedes in 2013 after Michael Schumacher re-retired. He won his second championship the following season on the back of 11 grand prix wins last year, and currently leads the standings ahead of his teammate Nico Rosberg.

"Mercedes is my home and I couldn't be happier to be staying here another three years," said Hamilton. "The Mercedes car I am driving right now is the best I have ever had in my career."

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