Reuters Budapest, Hungary
Jul 22, 2016, 09.31 AM
Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg has signed a new contract that will keep him at Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton until the end of the 2018 season, the team said today.
The team tweeted video of the 31-year-old German, runner up to Briton Hamilton in the championship for the last two years, signing the contract to race for the team in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
"We are delighted to announce that the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team has signed a two-year contract extension with Nico Rosberg for the 2017 and 2018 Formula One seasons," Mercedes later confirmed in a statement.
"Nico has been a core member of the Silver Arrows since the team returned to the sport in 2010 and has played a crucial role in the team's success in that time."
Rosberg joined Mercedes from Williams in 2010 and has won 19 grand prix for the team, including five this year. He has helped Mercedes to the manufacturers title for the last two seasons. Three-times Formula One champion Hamilton signed a three-year deal with the team through to the end of the 2018 season in May last year. Rosberg holds a one-point lead over Hamilton in the drivers standings heading into this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, down from an imposing 43 points in May.
The pair have exasperated team bosses with their on-track rivalry at times this season, particularly after they collided on the last lap of the Austrian Grand Prix with the result that Rosberg finished fourth in a damaged car. The team said before the British Grand Prix earlier this month, however, that they would not impose "team orders" on their drivers.