Lewis Hamilton to leave McLaren and replace Michael Schumacher at Mercedes

EXCLUSIVE: Hamilton to leave McLaren and replace Schumacher at Mercedes

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UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 27 September 2012

Lewis Hamilton is poised to cut his ties with his boyhood team McLaren and replace Michael Schumacher at Mercedes, Sportsmail can reveal.

The German car giants will announce Schumacher’s second retirement at their headquarters in Stuttgart on Friday morning, with Hamilton about to replace him on a deal worth as much as 60million over three years.

Decision to make: McLaren star Lewis Hamilton's future remains unclear

Decision to make: McLaren star Lewis Hamilton's future remains unclear

It is understood that Hamilton, 27,
will earn a basic salary of 15m a year, with potential win bonuses
inflating his earnings. He will, therefore, maintain his status as one
of the grid’s top earners alongside Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, and Red
Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.

Rollercoaster: Hamilton has had an up-and-down season at McLaren

Rollercoaster: Hamilton has had an up-and-down season at McLaren

But while money was important to
Hamilton — he is known to be careful with his finances — it was not the
governing factor in his decision. More important is his desire to
improve on a return of one title in five completed seasons.

Ross Brawn, the man behind
Schumacher’s dominance, is team principal at Mercedes and his presence
is sure to have been a major lure for the British driver.

Flashing the cash: Mercedes have tried to tempt Hamilton to their team

Flashing the cash: Mercedes have tried to tempt Hamilton to their team