Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Autodromo do Algarve, 2021

Hamilton says plan to keep racing in 2022 was behind decision to test 18-inch tyres

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton revealed he took the rare step of volunteering to take part in a test session because he intends to keep racing in Formula 1 next year.

The seven-times world champion only extended his last contract with Mercedes by a single year, prompting speculation he will not compete in the 2022 F1 season.

But following the last race at Imola he chose to stay at the circuit to test Pirelli’s latest prototypes of the 18-inch tyres which will be introduced next year. He said he took the decision because he intends to keep racing in 2022.

“Firstly, I don’t ever volunteer for test days,” Hamilton admitted. “That is probably one of the first ones that I have volunteered for.

“So I immediately regretted it when I woke up in the morning! I was like ‘damn it’. But it was a really great track to do the test that so I enjoyed the day and the weather was good.

“I plan to be here next year and I want to be a part of that, I want to help Pirelli.”

Hamilton has previously criticised F1’s planned move to 18-inch tyres for next year. He said today he wants to “help them lead towards having a better product” in 2022.

“It’s something that drivers, all of us I think, have wished for – [higher] performance tyres – moving forward. So it was important for me to see, to gauge where the starting point is and what differences I can help [with]. So that, first of all, from a drivers’ point of view, we have more grip, more mechanical grip in our tyres, less degradation.

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“It was a good test and obviously it was the first step with the tyres. But it definitely wasn’t a bad place to start.”

Hamilton said he isn’t fully committed to continuing next year, but is relishing the closer championship fight he’s having with Max Verstappen.

“I’m pretty spontaneous so it could always change,” he said. “But I’m enjoying this battle that we’re having. It’s been more exciting. It’s been even more of a challenge.”

He is also eager to continue working with Formula 1 to improve diversity within the sport.

“As I said, I continue to love working with this team, and it’s encouraging to see the step for example my team are really making towards becoming more inclusive and more diverse. I think today they already announced one of the initiatives that we have within our organisation.

“We still have a lot of work to do as a sport. There’s still many teams that have continued to stay silent. There are many people so far that are not particularly being held accountable and there’s still a lot of work to do within this sport.

“I know that being here I have more chance of helping change that than not. So that’s something I’m looking to [do]. I don’t know how long I can stay, but we’ll see.”

Hamilton also indicated he may join teams from sports including football, cricket and rugby in boycotting social media platforms in protest against their handling of racist abuse.

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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13 comments on “Hamilton says plan to keep racing in 2022 was behind decision to test 18-inch tyres”

  1. If Lewis plans to keep racing on and on, we’ll never know how much of a multiple champion he may be at other things. You know, the fashion design and the conceptual art and the hip pop vocals and and and …. :))

  2. For now, I’m confident he’ll continue regardless of the WDC outcome, albeit his mind can change.
    BTW, I like his Jackie Stewart pants.

    1. From his comments it is more important that the season stays as competative as it is now than whether he wins or not for his drive to want to continue @jerejj. So he really has the same interest as all of us do – have a great, tight fight :-)

  3. Eh…not sure I’ll be wearing those pants/trousers down my high street anytime soon though, a rare style dip by Lewis lol
    Who knows his future plans but I feel for certain he’ll never want to drop into a midfield team to stay in F1 for the sake of it.

  4. Better announce it sooner than the 2021 contract decision.

  5. Let’s be honest. Lewis was never going to leave before trying out the new cars. Everyone knew that apart from the uninitiated. That, combined with the ‘threat’ of Russell was at least part of the reason Mercedes had control over his deal & pay earlier in the year.

  6. ‘There are many people so far that are not particularly being held accountable and there’s still a lot of work to do within this sport.‘ – Who the hell does he think he is to “hold accountable” anyone?

    1. He’s a global sport megastar. Who the hell are you to question him? See how that works?

  7. This news will disappoint so many. Lol.

  8. So, Hamilton + Bottas confirmed for 2022? I really don’t see Lewis accepting Russell as his teammate, he doesn’t want to get in another Rosberg situation. Not saying Russell would be able to beat him, but it does look like George doesn’t really want to play the role Valtteri has. Bringing in George will very likely divide the garage once again. In Imola we saw what is really on George his mind, he feels he earns that seat more than Bottas does. And it is totally fine him thinking that, but speaking it out loud in the media is not exactly a good idea, and shows he could bring a toxic atmosphere into the team.

    1. Toto may accept a troubled ride for a year (or two) as an unavoidable cost.

    2. Toto will be more concerned about the cost of putting a wreck Mercedes back together every week after GR has crashed into his teammate or the wall

  9. Not sure I agree by not bringing Russell in for 2022. Remember Michael Schumacher being pushed out at Ferrari. By making Russell Mr. Hamilton’s teammate Lewis has no choice of accepting it or leave Mercedes. Toto is very sly, who knows.

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