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Hamilton Inks New Deal With McLaren

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain has signed a new five-year contract extension with McLaren, which lengthens his total time with the team to 15 years.

Hamilton's original deal was signed in 2006, but McLaren decided on a new contract after the English driver's stellar rookie F-1 season in which he finished runner-up to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

McLaren chief executive Ron Dennis said the 23-year-old Hamilton -- the first black driver in Formula one -- had exceeded all expectations and deserved "improved financial terms." However, Dennis did not reveal how much Hamilton will make in the deal.

Dennis said he believes the 15-year pact is among the longest running associations between a sportsman and a team in the history of sports. Hamilton said he would be happy to drive for McLaren for the rest of his career.

Hamilton will have a new teammate at McLaren-Mercedes this season. Heikki Kovalainen replaces Fernando Alonso as McLaren's other driver. Alonso will be driving for Renault in 2008.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.