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F1 champion Lewis Hamilton signs new contract with Mercedes

F1 champion Lewis Hamilton signs new contract with Mercedes

Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has ended months of stalling and deliberation by finally signing a new contract with Mercedes. The four-time world champion penned a new deal with Mercedes until 2020, when the current set of F1 regulations end. No figures were given in a Mercedes statement on Thursday, but it is reportedly estimated at 40 million pounds ($52 million) per year. 'It's good to put pen to paper, announce it, and then get on with business as usual,' Hamilton said. 'We are on the same wavelength both on and off track, and I am looking forward to winning more.' Mercedes has won the past four drivers' and constructors' championships — with Hamilton clinching three of them — but this season is testing the Silver Arrows team. Hamilton trails Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel by eight points, and Mercedes is 20 points behind Ferrari in the constructors' championship. The 33-year-old Hamilton has won 65 races — 44 with Mercedes — and secured 124 career podiums. He is the F1 record holder with 76 pole positions. His number of wins is second only to seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher's tally of 91. 'I'm very confident that Mercedes is the right place to be over the coming years,' Hamilton said. 'Although we have enjoyed so much success together since 2013, Mercedes is hungrier than ever. The competitive passion that burns bright inside me is shared by every single member of this group.' Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013, after six seasons with McLaren. The British driver won his first F1 title with McLaren, in 2008, at the age of 23. Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff spoke of his relief at getting Hamilton to commit, amid speculation this season Hamilton might even quit driving in order to further his ambitions in fashion and music. 'There has understandably been a lot of interest and speculation around the whole process, so it's good to put all of that to rest and get this thing announced,' Wolff said. 'We signed the final documents this week and didn't want to keep people waiting any longer.' Wolff hailed Hamilton as one of F1's all-time greats, and praised his professionalism and work ethic above all. 'What I enjoy most about working with him is getting to know the man inside the racing helmet,' Wolff said. 'His relentless drive for self-improvement, his emotional intelligence as a team member and his loyalty to those around him.' Hamilton is vying with Vettel to become only the third F1 driver to win five titles. The other is Juan Manuel Fangio. Hamilton's new contract goes to the end of the Concorde Agreement, with a new set of rules and regulations for F1 set for 2021 onward. The biggest changes in 2021 will center on engines, budget caps, and wealth distribution, in order to create a more level playing field. They have yet to be approved, so Hamilton's deal protectively gives him the option of deciding whether he wants to keep racing in 2021. ___ More AP auto racing: https://racing.ap.org ___ Follow Jerome Pugmire on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jeromepugmire

The Latest: British Open rookie early leader at Carnoustie

The Latest: British Open rookie early leader at Carnoustie

The Latest on the British (all times local): 11:20 a.m. Erik Van Rooyen enjoyed his first round at a British Open — except for the final hole. The 28-year-old South African went out at 6:46 a.m. in the second group and has set the clubhouse target after a 4-under 67. The only shot the Open rookie dropped came at the last after he found a bunker with his drive. Van Rooyen has recent form on the links: He was the 54-hole leader at the Irish Open two weeks ago and finished tied for fourth. He could soon have company from Jordan Spieth, whose iron play has been excellent early in his round. The defending champion birdied the second, rolled in another birdie from 4 feet at No. 4, and was 2 under after five holes. Sandy Lyle, who hit the first shot of this 147th British Open, finished bogey-bogey for a 75. ___ 10:05 a.m. Danny Willett hasn't had a victory since surprisingly winning the Masters in 2016, and he's trying to put that right at the British Open. After opening his first round with a bogey, Willett has rolled in five birdies to reach 4 under after 13 holes, tied for the lead with Erik Van Rooyen. A mixture of injuries and a swing change saw Willett plunge from inside the world's top 10 to outside the top 400. He's currently No. 320. Jordan Spieth has started his defense of the claret jug, sending an iron down the left of the first fairway and just short of a bunker. He is trying to become the fifth player in the last 50 years to win back-to-back in the British Open. The wind remains light, but is forecast to pick up in the afternoon. ___ 8:45 a.m. That nickname 'Car-Nasty' might be taking a hit in the opening round of the British Open. Carnoustie already is dry and fast with wispy rough. It's not getting much help from the wind, either. Conditions were benign enough that Sandy Lyle made the turn in 1 under. The 60-year-old Scot hit the opening tee shot. Erik Van Rooyen of South Africa was the first player to reach 3 under with his birdie on the par-5 fifth. Former Masters champion Danny Willett also had three birdies in six holes, though he opened with a bogey. Defending champion Jordan Spieth plays in the morning. Tiger Woods plays this afternoon in his return to the Open for the first time since 2015. ___ 7:30 a.m. Sandy Lyle of Scotland sent a mid-iron rolling along the crusty turf of Carnoustie to start the 147th playing of the British Open. Lyle was chosen to hit the opening tee shot Thursday morning under a gray sky off the North Sea. He won the Open in 1985. Also in the opening group was two-time major champion Martin Kaymer and Andy Sullivan. They faced a course that was more yellow than green because of the unusually dry summer in Scotland. Carnoustie has been called 'Car-Nasty' in recent Opens because it is considered the toughest links in the Open rotation. This year's championship was more of a mystery going into the first round. Fast conditions are difficult, but being so dry means the rough is thin and wispy.

With Leonard gone, a new look for Popovich and the Spurs

With Leonard gone, a new look for Popovich and the Spurs

The most tumultuous offseason in Gregg Popovich's two decades with the Spurs ended with the trade of star Kawhi Leonard to Toronto. And Popovich says he is fine with that. The Spurs traded Leonard and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a conditional 2019 first-round pick on Wednesday. It was clear that Leonard was ready to go despite years of success with Popovich and the Spurs. 'At his point, my main interest is definitely not to look back,' Popovich said. 'It doesn't do us any good whatsoever. I'm thrilled to have DeMar and Jakob join us. From that point on, that's where my focus will be.' Popovich was jovial and heartfelt in speaking to the media for the first time since his wife, Erin, died April 18. Popovich did not coach the Spurs in the final three games of their first-round playoff loss to Golden State. Popovich said this offseason has been 'difficult' for him, but it has not dampened the 69-year-old's desire to continue coaching. 'When I can't do it anymore or don't want to do it or people don't want to do it with me, then I'll stop doing it, but I'm fine,' he said. Popovich will be coaching a crop of young talent unseen in San Antonio since the early days of the Big Three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili — a roster the result of some big changes. In addition to losing Leonard and Green, San Antonio also lost Parker and Kyle Anderson to free agency. It was especially tough losing Parker, who Popovich formed a patriarchal bond with since the Spurs drafted the then 19-year-old from France. Parker signed a two-year deal with Charlotte after Popovich and Spurs general manager R.C. Buford informed the 36-year-old point guard that his minutes would be limited in favor of younger players like Dejounte Murray, Derek White, Bryn Forbes and first-round pick Lonnie Walker out of Miami. 'This was really good for Tony,' Popovich said. 'He'll get more playing time, it'll kind of rejuvenate him a little bit. I think he's really excited to be in Charlotte and we've got some young kids that we need to develop in Dejounte and Derek White and Bryn and so forth.' Led by LaMarcus Aldridge's resurgent season, the Spurs won 47 games last season and reached the playoffs for a 21st consecutive year. They did so despite playing without Leonard for all but nine games due to a right quadriceps injury the All-Star forward suffered last year. Popovich said he believes this year's team will be more talented despite the offseason losses. 'I think we've sustained a pretty good level of excellence for a very long time, more than most,' Popovich said. 'Hopefully that will continue and I'm confident it will with someone like DeMar and a young player like Jakob that can develop.' The Spurs were able to re-sign Rudy Gay and added former Spurs guard Marco Belinelli. Trading for DeRozan and Poeltl kept with the team's mantra of short- and long-term planning. DeRozan is signed for three more seasons and Poeltl was selected ninth by Toronto in the 2016 draft. 'I thought our staff did an unbelievably great job bringing back quality players, quality people and in DeMar, a proven All-Star. I have to be thrilled with that, and I am,' Popovich said. The Spurs are hoping the addition of DeRozan and Walker along with the continued development of Murray, White, Forbes and Davis Bertans along with a healthier Gay will help them in the loaded Western Conference. 'You've got to shoot the basketball and DeMar does that well,' Popovich said. 'But the rest of the makeup of the team having Derek White develop, having Bryn come back, having Rudy come back, all people who can shoot it. Adding Marco Belinelli is important so those things round out and helps LaMarcus do his thing down there. That shooting will help us a great deal.' One unknown factor is Ginobili. The veteran guard from Argentina has a year remaining on his contract but has not decided if he will return. Popovich said Ginobili 'is chasing bears in the Northwest' while vacationing with his three young sons. Hoping to entice the 40-year-old to return, Popovich sent a picture of Ginobili in his early years, dunking on an opponent. 'He sent me back a picture of me like in my first year here as an assistant,' Popovich said. 'I'm not sure what that meant. Like, 'You're crazy, you're old, too.'' ____ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

ESPYS honor Nassar survivors with Ashe award The "sister survivors" of disgraced doctor Larry Nassar were honored at the 2018 ESPYS with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.