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Nico Rosberg extends contract with Mercedes through 2018

Formula One driver Nico Rosberg has signed a contract extension with Mercedes through the 2018 season
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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Nico Rosberg has signed a contract extension with Mercedes that will take the current championship leader through the 2018 season, the Formula One team said Friday.

Rosberg, runner-up for the past two years in the drivers' championship behind teammate Lewis Hamilton, has 19 wins and 25 pole positions since starting his Formula One career as a test driver for Williams in 2005.

''A special moment for me, of course ... signing that piece of paper,'' Rosberg said. ''I look forward to the future.''

Rosberg joined Mercedes AMG Petronas in 2010 and leads the championship with five wins and 168 points. Hamilton has 167 points. Mercedes has won nine of the first 10 races this season and 41 of the last 48.

''We had a couple of weeks of discussions. It was always clear we wanted to continue,'' Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said. ''Nico is the real deal for us. So, great, onwards and upwards.''

Hamilton is also set to be with Mercedes through the 2018 season, having signed a three-year extension last year.

The 31st Hungarian Grand Prix is Sunday at the Hungaroring track.