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Mercedes has confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will replace Michael Schumacher from the 2013 season onwards. The 2008 World Champion has signed a three-year deal with the German marque, moving over from long-time squad McLaren.
Following a series of back-and-forth negotiations, Hamilton and his management company XIX Entertainment ultimately received a higher offer from Mercedes. Despite McLaren's improved efforts to retain the 27-year-old's services, Hamilton has opted to make the move on the grounds of undertaking a new challenge.
"It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter racing for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team," Hamilton explained of Friday's announcement, marking his first move since his F1 debut. "Mercedes-Benz has such an incredible heritage in motorsport, along with a passion for winning which I share.
"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 world championships."
Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn, who firstly praised the departing Michael Schumacher for his recent efforts, is equally delighted with the long-term agreement, describing his driver line-up for the 2013 campaign as the 'most exciting' in the field.
"On behalf of Mercedes AMG Petronas, I would first of all like to thank Michael for the important contribution he has made to the growth of our team over the past three seasons,"said Brawn. "His energy and commitment have never wavered, even when results have not matched our own expectations, and we are determined to finish the season together on a high. It has been a pleasure to work with Michael.
"Looking ahead to 2013, I am delighted to welcome Lewis Hamilton to our team. The arrival of a driver of Lewis’ calibre is a testament to the standing of Mercedes-Benz in Formula One and I am proud that Lewis shares our vision and ambition for the success of the Silver Arrows.
"I believe that the combination of Lewis and Nico will be the most dynamic and exciting pairing on the grid, and I am looking forward to what we can achieve together."
Hamilton and Rosberg were previously team-mates back in their karting days, forming a strong friendship during their rise through motorsport's ranks.
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