Lewis Hamilton talks about life after his current F1 deal runs out, as he talks about increasing challenges, changing times and also the pressure game.
With the current F1 deal with Mercedes, Hamilton will be 38-years-old by the end of it. The Brit has been vocal about not racing for long, certainly not beyond 40-years. But for him to eventually decide his departure, he will need something substantial to do post-F1.
He has multiple things on his plate, but there is nothing substantial for him yet to devote his time away from F1. At the moment, he is relishing the challenge from Red Bull and even the likes of McLaren and Ferrari and for now, but carrying on beyond 38-years is not on his mind.
“38 doesn’t actually sound that bad,” said Hamilton. “I was with my friend the other day back home, and he’s 40. He’s married with kids, and living a different life I guess. I don’t know. I think even last year, or this year, I can’t remember when we got to 100 poles. I think it was this year maybe. It definitely gets like, jeez, what’s next?
“But as I said, I’m constantly being challenged. It’s never easy. We’re constantly having to push ourselves and elevate, and it’s a constant struggle within this sport, trying to get the car right each weekend, trying to understand the tyres, trying to understand the aero config. Each track is different, each compound is different, at different tracks and different surfaces. You’ve got young cats coming through doing great, you’ve got Red Bull who have just got an amazing package this year.
“You’ve got McLaren, who have really progressed so well and I’m so happy for them. And so it’s exciting. It’s the closest pack that we’ve probably ever had. I’m excited to see what the next year holds in terms of I hope that remains the same in terms of closeness. When I’m 38, there’s going to be a point when I’m going to want to move on to do different things, and I guess it just always comes down to, I never do anything half assed.
“I’m not going to do it at 80%, 70%, and just trundle along. Like, there are people that can do that. I’m only here to win. If there’s ever a point that I don’t feel I want to commit the time or the effort, the mental time and energy that it takes, that will be the time for me to stop. But like I said, I don’t plan to be here until I’m 40. I hope I have something else exciting to do beyond. But regardless, no matter what time we stop, I’m going to miss this sport. I’m going to miss the competing side of it for sure,” summed up Hamilton.
Expanding more on the on-track fights, Hamilton agrees that the push from Red Bull did make it an interesting proposition. He reckons it is bringing him more closer with Mercedes, as they group together to fight solutions to their deficit to their F1 rivals. He is also eager to work with the sport to bring about a change for the future.
“I think the start of this season, that’s when the cars were so close in performance, pretty much equal, then it was really one of the most exciting times that I’ve had for some time, to be able to have this battle for Red Bull,” said Hamilton. “Honesty I was really hoping that it would continue on like that through the rest of the year, but as you’ve seen, they’ve taken a huge leap forward.
“I think really, we’re always in different places in our lives, and it’s important that we take time to evaluate, it’s important that we do what’s right for us in terms of health and mental well being. At the end of, last year, a long, long, long journey, I think it’s always a good time to try and reflect and see what’s next. I found myself just waking up, thinking about racing. So, I wanted to continue to race.
“And now we’re having this tight battle, yeah, it’s brought me closer to the team, it’s brought me closer to the team, it’s brought me closer to the engineers. It’s making me dig deeper, and I love that, discovering, I guess it has been reinvigorating the love that I have for this sport and love for what I do.
“Again, just on the back side of it, knowing the work, the conversations we’re having in the backgrounds. I’ve been on the phone and Zooms with the FIA, with Formula 1, seeing Stefano come in, knowing what a great guy he is, knowing what the sport can be, and I want to be a part of helping the sport evolve, and to be as great as it can be,” summed up Hamilton.
With regards to pressure, Hamilton doesn’t think it affects him as much. He reckons there is always pressure to keep performing at this level, which is what sportsperson relish. “It doesn’t change the pressure for me,” he said. “I always bet on myself. No, when I do these one-year deals, it’s not like, what if I don’t perform. I know I’m going to perform, because I know how to do that. I know the work that I need to do in order to be able to help.
“I think probably for the team, there’s so many people naturally, and I think for the longevity of the team, for confidence, responses, all those things, it’s super important that these things get done as quick as they can be. And we had already said that we wanted to continue together. I think we’ve got an amazing relationship, an amazing group of partners.
“It’s amazing to see what Mercedes are doing, the support that they’ve given me through this period with BLM, with turning the whole car black for the second year in a row, for really pushing for a more diverse and inclusive environment. It’s amazing, the conversations we’ve had. It’s an amazing, new part of the journey that we’ve started, that for sure, several years ago, I could only have dreamed of being in this position. Yeah, I’m excited for what that can be,” summed up Hamilton.
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