Lewis Hamilton hints he will prolong F1 stay after best finish of the season
An elated Lewis Hamilton has indicated he has every intention of continuing in Formula One after securing his best finish of the season with second place at the French Grand Prix.
The seven-times champion insisted that despite his Mercedes being off the pace he was enjoying F1 more than ever, suggesting the 37-year-old could well race on beyond the end of his contract, which concludes at the end of next season.
The race at Paul Ricard was the 300th of Hamilton’s 16-year career in F1 but afterwards he emphasised that he was as energised as ever.
“I still feel fresh and there is plenty of fuel in the tank,” he said. “I am enjoying the process and arriving everyday and working with this group of people and I am enjoying working with this sport. There are some great people in this sport and I am enjoying my time more than ever.”
The Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, had joked on Saturday that Hamilton could go on for another five or 10 years and reach 400 races but more seriously did reveal he and his driver had been discussing his future. The team have struggled this year but Hamilton remained motivated and welcomed discussion on extending his career.
“I want to get back to winning ways and I am sure we will sit down together soon,” he said, before offering his gratitude to some of the key people who have helped him come so far. “This is my 300th GP and I woke up incredibly grateful for all the people who have been with me. Ron Dennis, Mercedes, Martin Whitmarsh, Toto, Niki Lauda… I have been on an incredible journey with them.”
His teammate George Russell was third in France, Mercedes’ first double podium of the season, and although the Red Bull of race winner Max Verstappen still held a real advantage, Hamilton felt the team could be optimistic heading to Hungary next weekend.
“We have to keep pushing and I hope we are getting a little closer. This weekend he [Max] was only 10 seconds up the road,” he said. “George and I didn’t expect to be second and third, this is a huge day for me and I am taking that positivity on to Budapest.”