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    IN WORDS: I've Never Felt So Confident with My Team - Lewis Lewis talks contract extens...

Lewis talks contract extensions and intense on-track battles...

'It's a great feeling'

The big news of Thursday in Hockenheim was that Lewis had signed a two-year contract extension with the team, continuing his long relationship with Mercedes in F1.

"It is a really exciting time for me," he explained. "I've been with Mercedes since I was 13, when I came home and saw Ron Dennis had called and said McLaren and Mercedes wanted to play a part in supporting me.

"So, it has been a huge journey. Really long but very special. I have so many great memories from the whole experience, of past drivers and growing up.

"I am really proud to be part of this family and particularly what it has grown to be. I was at the factory earlier this week and I love being there, with the energy and the atmosphere.

"Knowing how hard everyone is working to help us all achieve our primary objective, it is a great feeling. Really exciting."

'Toto is a great human being'

Working on a new contract is no easy job - but it was a process that Lewis really enjoyed.

"Honestly, Toto is a great human being and a great manager. We have got a great relationship and it has gone from strength to strength. We have had our ups and downs as every relationship does but it has been one of a lot of growth.

"I really appreciate Toto being so patient with me. Most people would not have been given the time frame I chose to take, but the one thing that shows is the trust we have between each other.

"I said from day one I am not looking anywhere else, I'm not talking to anyone else, I am not investigating to see what other options there are, I'm not playing you against anybody else. Whilst I know there are drivers calling you, which I expect, I also trust you are not thinking to do anything else so we can take our time.

"It has been great. I am really happy with the process. I enjoyed that negotiation phase. It is intense, it is a learning experience because you learn a lot about the person you are speaking to and it is an interesting dynamic - but one that I have enjoyed doing.

"This is my third contract I did with the team and I am just really, really excited about the plan and mental focus of what I want to do in this team and achieve in this team, which I am not going to elaborate on, but I am excited about this journey and the next couple of years. I think we can do some great things."

'I'm excited to see how things unfold'

Lewis hopes the intense battle at the front of the field continues in 2018, but has every confidence his team can emerge from the fight in first place.

"It's great that we have this close battle in Formula 1 and we need more of it. I really, really wish that we had people like Williams and McLaren who are in this battle with us. Whether or not that will happen in the years to come, I hope I'm around to see that happen.

"I think it's been great for the sport the way it is and they need to do whatever they can to make sure, obviously in a fair way, that it continues for years to come. We need more championships like this from now on.

"Our job is just to focus on doing the best we can. I think we've done a really good job this year. I've never been so confident within my team, after these past races, and I've never felt so confident and empowered by the things that I've learned that we're facing.

"It's exciting for you guys to see how things unfold in the coming months. I really, truly believe we've got what it takes to come back from whatever we're faced with. I wouldn't want it any other way."

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