Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

‘I don’t feel like this is my last year in F1’ – Hamilton

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has played down suggestions he could walk away from Formula 1 at the end of this season, indicating he’s eager for a closer championship contest this year.

Earlier this year, the seven-times champion extended his contract to drive for Mercedes by a single season. That prompted speculation he may hang up his helmet if he wins a record-breaking eighth world championship this year.

But speaking in today’s FIA press conference ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Hamilton said: “In the current position I’m in I don’t feel like this is the end.”

Hamilton is excited by the new technical regulations which will come into force for the 2022 F1 season.

“Of course we’ve got these changes that are happening next year which are exciting,” he said.

“I think this looks like it could be the most exciting season yet,” Hamilton added. “We’ve got new teams, we’ve got new formats and it’s closer.

“I don’t feel like I’m at the end. But in the next eight months I’ll find out whether I’m ready to stop or not. I don’t think I will, personally, but you never know.”

Mercedes had a disrupted start to pre-season testing and appeared to lag behind rivals Red Bull. Hamilton believes they will go into the first race of the season at a disadvantage.

“Each year it’s a little bit of an unknown but of course more often we have a better feeling of what’s happening with our car,” he said.

“It’s massively exciting for us as a team. We are currently not the fastest. And how are we going to work together, how are we going to unite in order to get to where we want to be?

“For me, I’m super-excited for that challenge. Seeing some of the other teams close, I think it’s going to be great for fans. But I love that collaboration with the men and women in my team and trying to get to a common goal.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “‘I don’t feel like this is my last year in F1’ – Hamilton”

  1. I think people are reading too much into lot of little things and creating their own narrative. The 1 year extension was due to time constraints however I think this maybe a sign of complacency (time constraints should not have been an issue) between Merc and Hamilton so a 1 year had to be rushed through, judging on testing maybe a bit of complacency has set in across the organisation but they will shake it off and still come out on top and a further Hamilton contract will be given the time required and be sorted with time to spare for next year and beyond. If the new rules next year have the intended affect the style of racing should be right up Hamiltons street.

    Reply moderated
  2. I really hope he joins another team, preferably Ferrari.

    1. I would also like to see him in Ferrari or even at Aston but does he really fit in anywhere else than Mercedes?
      Ferrari has Charles, Red Bull has Max, Mclaren? Why not but firing Norris or Ricciardo doesn’t sound right. Aston? It would be a dream come true to have Hamilton and Vettel in a same team but the problem is Stroll. Alpine? I can’t see that happening and same with Alpha Tauri, Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams.

    2. I don’t see any logic to Hamilton going to Ferrari @coldfly.

      Maybe if a decent chunk of the Mercedes engineers had just joined Ferrari in an effort to rebuild. Or even if a chunk of guys from McLaren who he knows would do that. But in the state they are in, there is no chance to build a team up to anything that is going to hold together for long enough to really make it a legacy.

      1. Not so much based on Logic, @BasCB, but a desire I have.

        Not totally illogical though, as it will undoubtedly aid Hamilton’s legacy if he performs well in another team as well.

        1. @coldfly – fair enough, I get you wanting to see what Hamilton could do at Ferrari (I would be more interested in him at a team like Red Bull, or even seeing how Seb Vettel does at AM, or heck how a Hamilton would be able to but a Williams into respectabilit personally).

          The thing about the logic to going to Ferrari – it sort of precludes Hamilton actually seeing the possibility that there would be success to be had with the team. Hamilton saw how Vettel got nowhere and how even a guy like Alonso burned out at the Italian team.
          That is why I don’t think going to Ferrari without the kind of support like Schumacher got with Todt-Brawn getting free reign to achieve success is a no go for Lewis.

        2. Hamilton has performed well with another team. McLaren’s last WDC if memory serves.

          1. I personally don’t think LH has any desire nor the time to start with someone else. I have thought for a couple of years now, and still do, that LH will extend his contract for two more seasons after this one. I think LH will be stoked about the new gen cars and will have utter confidence that Mercedes will continue to make winning cars.

            As I see it, no driver on the top teams will or should change teams for next year as they might risk leaving the very team that might become the one to beat, and they’d be handing that to someone else. I see no movement in the top half of the grid for next year other than GR replacing VB. Otherwise I predict status quo at RBR, Ferrari, AM, Mac, and Alpine.

            I think LH will go through 2023 and then who knows, but by which time Max will have seen where the desirable place will be to be and will have his pick. He’ll either stay at RBR or move, but I think he will be the most sought after and as I say will have his pick, as in, nobody will budge until Max makes up his mind.

            If LH decides to continue past 2023 that might stop Merc from being an option for Max, but I also think we are about to head to an era where the chances of someone in a strong second place WCC car will be much better than in the past of snatching the WDC from the one with the WCC winning car.

          2. @coldfly While I don’t think LH will move as I opine above, my goodness the blockbuster buzz that would create no? Or if Max went to Merc? I don’t see either happening but boy oh boy the attention F1 would get, and how enthralling it would be to see.

          3. You’re right, @greenflag, and I should have included/reflected that.

            My point wasn’t to diminish the achievements of Hamilton, but reflecting the opinion of many that his current domination is in no small part linked to his all conquering team.
            I strongly believe that it will only help his legacy if he also performs well (even if not winning WDC’s or even races) in another team.
            Even Alonso at Mclaren (2nd stint) showed the qualities of Alonso as a driver without getting any podiums.

  3. Lewis isn’t going anywhere it’s just a tool to negotiate contracts and increase media exposure.

    I find it so funny that in F1 media there is a constant stream of shall he stay or shall he go articles.

  4. I thought that he would want to try the new cars next year. Assuming that he is champion this year and breaks the record, it could be a low pressure experiment for him. Actually, he is probably more competitive than most people so it’s wouldn’t be as relaxed as I am imagining but you know what I mean.

  5. Yes an actual contest between two teams that is contested would be great. Not the walk over the last 6 years (is it really six?) has been. A complete walk over. I just hope Mercedes hang around to actually get beaten in two or three years time. They will leave. They do not want to walk away as losers. Once they know their advantage has gone they will leave. They will be called AMG or something like that at best to not tarnish the well crafted brand of Mercedes. Once this is all over we could get back to a competition where a driver has to beat more than one person to be called world champion. This time will pass and the legacy may not be what some wish it to be. Quite the opposite.

  6. I have never thought otherwise than that this is not his last season, for several reasons. One of those reasons is that I think he is the type of personality that will want it known when he is in his last season, so that that season is spent celebrating him and his career as he races for the last time at each venue that comes up. I just simply cannot imagine him going through, for example, this season, and then at the end saying btw that’s it for me, and off he goes into the sunset.

    1. Think this makes sense for hamilton indeed.

  7. “I do not feel this….”
    Interesting choice of words.
    So maybe he will feel different if this year is not to his expectations.
    So…
    If Mercedes does not deliver he probably ends his career after this season. Not wishful thinking ( always a pity to lose the best driver for years on a row) but a glimp of realism.
    We will see.

    1. On that expression specifically, I tend to agree with @ryanoceros that “not being 100% sure” sounds like negotiating edge. I think Lewis will at least try out the new regulations in 2022, for a year or two, somewhere, probably Mercedes. But there’s no guarantee of having a title-winnable car anywhere, so good choice/luck on what team he signs for (again, probably Mercedes or Mercedes-engined at least) will also play a big part in how long he stays around for. Personally I’d like to see the Ferrari switch too (@coldfly) but just seems totally unlikely. Back to McLaren alongside Ricciardo would be pretty good.

  8. NeverElectric
    25th March 2021, 20:31

    Straight swap with Max?
    Merc get Max, RB get Lewis for a couple years.
    Won’t happen.
    Still…

  9. Is it really a surprise. He has a chance of 8 titles this year but maybe not. Even so I feel like a competitor like him, and all the rest, would surely be excited at the prospect of the new regulations incoming. If they really do spice up the battles and bring closer racing why would a real racer want to bow out and not experience it. Alonso is up for the fight. So will Hamilton. Fingers crossed we have a lot of teams firing on all cylinders and have a fantastic season. Surely Hamilton is here for a challenge, not a walk in the park?

  10. It’s possible that this will end up in a situation like with Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in 2006. Back then Ferrari knew that Schumacher was nearer the end of his career than the beginning and signed the highly-rated and super fast Kimi Raikkonen for a 2007 seat as their hope for the future. This gave Schumacher the option of going alongside Kimi in the same car, switching teams, or retiring. Schumacher had won everything, broken all the records, had nothing to gain and everything to lose, so walked away still very much on top of his game.

    I see a similar situation developing at Mercedes. Whilst Lewis is still very much on top and the number one driver on the grid, they know that he is nearer the end of his career than the start. Max Verstappen is out of contract this year and already has links to Mercedes from 2014, when he had to choose between joining the Mercedes programme or the Red Bull programme. If Mercedes come out on top again for the first half of this season then it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Mercedes can poach Max from Red Bull as their bright hope for the future. I think any driver would be mad to turn down a Mercedes team who have won (assuming this scenario plays out) the last 8 consecutive championships. And I think any team would be mad to turn down Max. That leaves Hamilton with an ultimatum similar to the one Schumacher had – go up alongside Max in the same car, switch teams, or walk away with all of his records.

    Of course, if Red Bull really are the team to beat this season then Max will have no reason to leave and Mercedes would probably have missed the boat on signing him. So we could end up with a strange situation where Lewis’ and Mercedes own success this season could ultimately pave the way for his exit at the end of the year. It’s going to be fascinating to see how this plays out over the course of the season.

  11. @sbewers: an accurate reading of the situation, except for one factor that separates Schumacher from Hamilton. MSC, unlike HAM, was not driving a Car that cannot possibly lose, and which no one could realistically compete.
    So, Max in that Mercedes would reap just as many titles as Lewis has. Unless of course Mercedes build a real dog for 2022. … Unlikely.

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