Mercedes signs Lewis Hamilton to replace Michael Schumacher
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Lewis Hamilton is to replace Michael Schumacher at Mercedes next season, the Formula One firm announced today, bringing to an end months of speculation about the Briton's future at McLaren.
McLaren first announced that Sauber's Mexican driver Sergio Perez would replace Hamilton in 2013, before Mercedes said that seven-time world champion Schumacher would make way for the 27-year-old, who won the 2008 title.
Speculation has been rife for months about a possible Hamilton move away from the team that he has represented for 15 years, amid apparent wranglings over his salary and outspoken comments from the driver himself on pit stops and team tactics.
Hamilton, currently in fourth in the drivers' championship, has won three races this season, in Canada, Hungary and Italy, and finished on the podium in the opening three races in Australia, Malaysia and China.
He had been set to win another on the skyscraper-dotted street circuit of Singapore last weekend after starting in pole position, before a gearbox failure put him out of the running and forced his retirement.
None of the parties made reference to the contractual wranglings in their separate statements, although Hamilton described the move as a "fresh challenge".
"Together, we can grow and rise to this new challenge. I believe that I can help steer the Silver Arrows to the top and achieve our joint ambitions of winning the world championships," he added.
Hamilton will drive alongside his old friend and rival from their karting days, Nico Rosberg, next season and Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said he was thrilled at the prospect, amid tributes to Schumacher and his contribution to the team.
"I believe that the combination of Lewis and Nico will be the most dynamic and exciting pairing on the grid next year and I am looking forward to what we can achieve together," he added.
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