Prior to this, the seven-time World Champion was technically a free agent as his contract with the Silver Arrows had expired at the end of 2020.
The delay in Mercedes and Hamilton inking a new deal prompted speculation that the Brit’s demands for a pay rise, among other things, were holding up the negotiations.
It later transpired that this wasn’t the case, and the holdup was due to them having to work out the other finer details of Hamilton’s contract extension, including the charitable foundation Mercedes and the seven-time World Champion will be jointly launching to promote diversity in motorsport.
Speaking to Formula1News.co.uk on Thursday, a Mercedes source said he feels Hamilton was mistreated by some F1 fans, pundits and the media.
“I think many people actually owe Lewis an apology for questioning him and his intentions,” the Mercedes insider told this publication.
“I’m sure he wasn’t bothered by it and he’s more focused than ever on winning, but I think it was quite malicious in some cases.”
Earlier, the same source told Formula1News.co.uk that Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will be their drivers in 2021.
“Any suggestion that Lewis won’t be with us this year is simply fake news. Plain and simple,” the source told this publication in January.
“There is no reason he and Valtteri won’t be driving our cars in 2021. You can consider it confirmed,” he added.
The same source later said we can expect a deal to be finalised and announced in February.
“Lewis’ future here was never in doubt. It’s just a question of time. I’m confident it will be wrapped up and announced sometime in Feb.”
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