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Mercedes agree contract extension with Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg has signed a new contract with Mercedes and will continue to partner triple world champion Lewis Hamilton for the next two years.

The German joined the team at the end of 2009 and has been runner-up in the championship for the past two seasons.

The 31-year-old’s new deal means both he and Hamilton are under contract until the end of the 2018 season.

Rosberg leads the 2016 championship by one point from Hamilton going into Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The pair are dominating F1, having won nine of the opening 10 races, but their relationship is a fractious one, punctuated by a number of on-track clashes.

“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,” read a Mercedes statement.

The news means all three top teams have confirmed driver line-ups for 2017.

Red Bull are retaining Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, while Ferrari have confirmed Kimi Raikkonen as partner for Sebastian Vettel.

The only active world champion without a drive at this stage is Britain’s Jenson Button, whose McLaren contract expires at the end of this season.

McLaren are likely to promote their Belgian reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne to partner double world champion Fernando Alonso, although chairman Ron Dennis told BBC Sport two weeks ago they would not decide until September.

Button also has interest from Williams, who are likely to drop Brazilian veteran Felipe Massa. Finn Valtteri Bottas is under option and is likely to be retained.

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