Hamilton signs three-year Mercedes deal

The speculation is over: Lewis Hamilton has signed a three-year deal with Mercedes Benz and will partner Nico Rosberg in the team's line-up next year.

"It's time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I'm excited to begin a new chapter racing for the Mercedes F1 Team," Hamilton said as the deal was announced.

"I believe I can steer the Silver Arrows to the top and achieve our joint ambition of winning world championships.

The signing of Hamilton , often reputed to be the out-and-out quickest driver on the grid, is a tremendous coup for Mercedes and squashes any doubt about the three-pointed star's long term commitment to F1.

Team principal Ross Brawn said: "The arrival of a driver of Lewis's calibre is a testament to the standing of Mercedes Benz in F1 and I'm proud that Lewis shares our vision and ambition for the success of the Silver Arrows.

"I believe the combination of Lewis and Nico will be the most exciting pairing on the grid next year and I'm looking forward to what we can achieve together."

Brawn thanked Michael Schumacher for his contribution to the growth of the team over the past three seasons but there was no announcement confirming the seven times champion's final retirement, or otherwise.

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