Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023

Hamilton: Ex-drivers suggesting I will quit are “creating rumours without facts”

2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has dismissed speculation by fellow Formula 1 champions that he may leave the sport if he endures a second uncompetitive season in 2023.

The seven-times world champion experienced his first ever win-less season in F1 last year. His current contract to drive for Mercedes will expire at the end of 2023.

Reports have emerged recently quoting Hamilton’s former team mate Jenson Button and another world champion, Damon Hill, suggesting he will not want to continue in F1 if the lack of success continues.

Hamilton rejected the claims when he spoke to media including RaceFans at the Bahtrain International Circuit today.

“People creating rumours without facts is never helpful,” said Hamilton. “You would have thought that they would both know me by now.”

How successful Mercedes is this year will not have a bearing on whether Hamilton returns to race in the 2024 F1 season, he said.

“I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13. Having a difficult year we had last year, whether or not we have a difficult year this year, I’ll still be here. I’m a fighter and we fight as a team. I love the challenge of finding solutions.

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“I still believe I’m able to put the car in places that perhaps others are not able to and I love that challenge. Of course I wish that we start the season with a great car but it’s the journey that really counts.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff revealed he and Hamilton have already had early talks around extending his deal to drive for them.

“There is no hold-up with our contract,” said Hamilton. “I’ve always been very relaxed. I don’t feel like I have to get it done right this second.

“I’m in a very fortunate position. It’ll get done when we’re ready. I have a great relationship with Toto and with Mercedes and we fully support each other and I’m really excited for the future together.

“I’m really proud of the work that we’re doing on and off the track and the potential of the things that we’re doing.”

Hamilton joked he and Wolff will “get there, unless some catastrophic thing happens with me and Toto, we get into the ring!”

“But no,” he concluded, “that’s all good!”

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2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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44 comments on “Hamilton: Ex-drivers suggesting I will quit are “creating rumours without facts””

  1. “I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13. Having a difficult year we had last year, whether or not we have a difficult year this year, I’ll still be here. …

    Say what where when… 13 ?!? Quite the typo… more like 28, right?

    1. McLaren Mercedes when he entered F1…..

    2. McLaren Mercedes

      1. If that is meant as a clarification somehow, I must admit I don’t get it…

        1. OK spelling out time for Claus J: Hamilton specifically means Mercedes engines.

          1. DBR FTW

    3. Lol what a weasel

      1. What? Who? He man? Keith? HAM? I don’t get anything currently, it seems :)

    4. IIRC, he joined the Mercedes “Academy” when he was 13. They were then involved in much of his career before F1. He signed with McLaren, who were using Mercedes engines, and he probably still had some “academy” support from them, then moved to the Mercedes team.

    5. petebaldwin (@)
      2nd March 2023, 16:48

      If he considers driving for McLaren as “being with Mercedes” than yeah – I have zero doubt that whatever happens this season, he’ll still be with Mercedes. That might be as a spokesman, it might be driving for Williams, it might be driving a Mercedes road car or it might indeed be driving for the Mercedes F1 team. Who knows but it’s very likely that however it plays out, he’ll still be “with Mercedes” in one way or another.

      1. you should pay more attention.

      2. McLaren was the factory Mercedes team from 1995-2009. Norbert Haug, VP of Mercedes Benz Motorsports, was closely involved in Hamilton’s sponsorship by Mercedes, starting at a young age, and continuing into the McLaren Young Driver program.

        So technically, Hamilton wasn’t a works driver from 2010 to 2012, but he was driving a McLaren-Mercedes, and he was sponsored by Mercedes all the way through the single-seater ladder, including F1.

    6. Its upsetting when apparent f1 fans dont get a drivers history then make out the article is wrong on probably the best f1 site😫

      1. Seriously, and when he was first sponsored by McLaren at such a young age the team was essentially Mercedes’ works F1 team. So even if you ignore the fact that the team was called McLaren-Mercedes due to running Merc engines, he was actually dealing more with Mercedes as their backing company. Norbert Haug, et al. were sponsoring him, Ron Dennis was there for a photo but Mercedes was likely giving him the money and support. I also remember him getting the McLaren deal at age 11, so maybe Merc took over when he was 13.

  2. Sign of the times, I guess…
    Expressing a personal, individual opinion is now spreading a rumour, apparently.

    I guess it always has been to people who are paranoid.

    1. What part of this interview makes you believe Lewis is paranoid? He appears happier than I’ve ever seen him socially, him and Russell have great mutual respect and seem to get on well too.

    2. Well, apparently, expressing a personal opinion about whether people should be nice to one another is political, now, so surely turnabout is fair play?

      1. People should be nice to each other (IMO) – but it doesn’t require any politics or political involvement/connection whatsoever.

        If it’s imposed and enforced via political/governmental policy, or brought about by sociopolitical pressure – then it is 100% political, isn’t it. Demanding that a (foreign) country change their national governmental policies and legislature is about as far from a non-political statement as it can get.
        Further; if it’s just sharing an opinion in private or via personal social media to people who expressly want to hear it (via subscription, for example), then it does no harm – but forcing it in a place it isn’t supposed to be (such as in someone else’s media without their permission) is a problem.
        Especially when you’ve knowingly and voluntarily agreed to abide by a code of conduct that explicitly prevents it being used in that way.

    3. These guys get dead air time and have to come up with stuff to fill it.
      If they touch on anything actual meaty, they’ll get in trouble from any of FOM, FIA or RBR.
      Hamilton’s retirement has been a fat stocking stuffer for them for years and likely will continue to be for years to come.

  3. People forget Hamilton is 38. He may quit because he’s not a clear contender? Sure. But he would be on his last lags anyway because he’s old. It’s time. Button, these guys, were already gone at 38.

    And different from Alonso, he doesn’t seem to have any “unfinished business” with F1 to stick around into his 40s.

    1. But like Alonso he still apparently loves racing in Formula 1 and hasn’t declined.
      Actually I think Alonso’s continuation is one good reason why Hamilton might be motivated to continue, not out of competitiveness, just because FA maintains the standard.
      Last year was clearly hard for Hamilton at the start. His form recovered by around halfway. If he can deal with Red Bull and Verstappen still being (possible a long way) ahead this season, then probably he can deal with anything else in terms of lack of competitiveness in the car. I mean, Alonso manages fine…

      1. He pushed through a tough few seasons at a much younger age right after his first championship with McLaren. He had the championship snatched away in his first season as well as the farce that was the end of ‘21, he’s in it get an 8th and continues to be happy with the team, ‘09, ‘10, and ‘11 were not incredible cars but he extracted poles and wins out of all of them. He’s handled difficult seasons before, and he has continually proven that he enjoys being in the sport. People loved Raikkonen staying until 40 even though his performances were not near his peak the last few seasons. Hamilton is still physically well and likely performing near his peak.

        1. I agree Wes, I was just picking up on Hamilton’s own comments that he momentarily pondered walking away after Abu Dhabi 2021. I think the perceived injustice of those race director decisions, and suspicions of an orchestrated result, weighed far more than a lack of relative competitiveness, which, like you say, he had to deal with before during the Vettel-Red Bull period of dominance (and seeing Vettel accumulate 4 titles).

  4. Jimmy Cliff
    2nd March 2023, 17:50

    Lewis never ever has had a bad car in F1 – he always had a top 3 car and for most of his career an extremely dominant car. In the whole history of F1 there isn’t a driver that over their career had better cars than Hamilton.

    Looking at the top 5 of most race wins it shows the cars they drove:
    Lewis: won 9.31 races per season (48% of all races) – 2007-2022
    MSC: won 7.2 races per season (43% of all races) – 1992-2006
    Senna: won 5.6 races per season (35% of all races) – excl 1994
    Vettel: won 5.42 races per season (28% of all races) – 2008-2019
    Prost: won 5.92 races per season (35% of all races) – 1980-1991+1993

    Not sure why Lewis was even complaining about 2022 – the car which he called the worst car he ever had was a clear top 3 car and in the 2nd half of 2022 the 2nd best.

    1. You stated it yourself: it is his frame of reference. He doesn’t know better.

    2. This is likely part of the reason why Russell did better than Hamilton last year: Russell was used to a bad car, and even that Mercedes was a massive step forward, whereas Lewis has been used to having a good car, so that was a massive step backwards.

    3. Not sure why Lewis was even complaining about 2022

      Because (a) he likes winning and (b) the car hurt.

  5. Itsmeagain (@)
    2nd March 2023, 18:03

    People creating rumours without facts is never helpful,

    I think Lewis and Wolff have broken their own mirrors.
    It’s not a long time ago they accused RB for an illegal engine ‘it’s like they have a partymode’, ‘the RB floor is illegal’, ‘Tsunoda’s DFN at Zandvoort in 2022 was probably planned to give the win to max etc etc. Typical Lewis

    1. Yeah, but that was based on empirical evidence. And it did turn out Red Bull had overspent their budget. And no one’s explained where the resources to reduce the RB-18’s weight by nearly 20kg came from.

      Yet another false equivalence.

      1. Itsmeagain (@)
        3rd March 2023, 8:36

        No, that’s not impirical. It’s a false accusation or speculation in the hope the FIA and media will pic it up. The budget thing has nothing to do with the accusations I mentioned and the weight thing you bring in? That’s speculation.

  6. I don’t understand the idea that Lewis Hamilton should retire once he wins his eighth championship. Perhaps it would hurt his reputation a bit in the short-term if he was still racing well into his 40s and never being competitive, but in the long-term, when people discuss who the greatest of all time is, Michael Schumacher is never judged based on his return in 2010-12, and similarly Hamilton would only be judged by his peak. Instead, Schumacher’s return shows that he has a real passion for racing.

    Similarly, nobody judges Graham Hill less favourably because of his post-injury performances in 1970-75, or Niki Lauda for his comeback of 1982-85 that wasn’t on the level of his original career (he was very fortunate to beat Prost in 1984), Alan Jones for doing nothing when he returned in 1986, Jacky Ickx for his terrible half-season with Ligier in 1979 or Damon Hill for his awful 1999 season. They are remembered for their performances at their peak and I would prefer to get to watch Hamilton for years to come because, even if he isn’t at his best, it would be nice to still get to see the flashes of brilliance that we see from Alonso. Taking the Jackie Stewart approach just makes it disappointing not to still get to watch the best driver in the world racing, although in his case it was a powerful statement and related to safety.

    There are a few drivers who are now considered lesser drivers because they raced on past their peak, such as Jack Brabham or Sebastian Vettel who would be more highly-rated if they had retired in 1960 and 2013 respectively, but this is more a case of it being revealed that they weren’t as good as they seemed because they weren’t particularly old when they started to decline, so it is not the same situation, and had Brabham retired in 1960 he never would have become the only driver to win the championship in his own car.

    So I think Hamilton should not retire and should continue racing for years to come, whether he is battling for victories or struggling in an uncompetitive car.

    1. Don’t understand the argument around how many WDCs one has at all anyway. His tally is highly luck driven anyway. It is clear that without the unprecedented Mercedes domination during an entire regulatory period 2014-2021, his tally would be far less and more realistically matching his skill level. But it all doesn’t matter as you state when we will look back on this era. He was WDC material for sure.

      1. The same can be said for most multiple WDCs. You need the car behind you. Do you think Vettel would be a 4xWDC if Red Bull hadn’t been the best car those years?

        To win championships, you generally need to be in the best car. But to drive the best cars you generally have to be one of the trip drivers.

        1. Yes I agree, the best end up in the better of best car so its their achievement. Vettel is different to Hamilton imho. Vettel would have never won a single WDC without that dominant RB for four years (and a totally inadequate team mate helped too), as I feel he is only fast and good on an empty track. His car handling is great, but that doesn’t make you a good racing driver. He was until that moment in time the luckiest driver of all time to win all those titles. Later on this luckiest ever title was taken over by Lewis. The difference with Lewis is that Lewis is (again imho) genuine WDC material. I am merely challenging his number of titles rather than his ability to win one (or two, or three, or four .. but 7 is ridiculous and has more to do with luck and circumstances than pure skill level).

          1. I’d say the same with Schumacher, though. Without a decent amount of luck and the right circumstances, even the best drivers wouldn’t reach more than 3-4 WDCs.

            It takes a large amount of talent to capitalise on that luck to such a level, though. If Hamilton and Schumacher didn’t have their level of talent, they probably wouldn’t have been in that lucky position, and would not have been able to capitalise on it as well as they did.

          2. Yes, agree

      2. I used championships because I think Hamilton wants to be the most successful of all time, but agree that it doesn’t determine who is the greatest. In my opinion, Jim Clark is the best driver ever and yet he only won two championships. Stirling Moss would also be easily in the top ten and possibly even top five and yet he never won any.

        Lewis Hamilton arguably is quite fortunate to have seven championships because he did have a dominant car for much of the era, but you can only beat what is in front of you, and he was still the best of his era. Michael Schumacher was less fortunate with cars but more fortunate with the fact that he raced with a much weaker grid than Hamilton did, and so these two are quite even. Meanwhile Fangio only raced in seven full seasons (five titles and two second places), so couldn’t have been more successful than Schumacher and Hamilton in regards to championships. In my opinion, the two best drivers ever, statistically, are Fangio and Prost (rather than Schumacher and Hamilton), the former for the aforementioned record and thrice beating Stirling Moss to championships, and Prost because he arguably could have nine titles and that is despite being teammate to five world champions: Lauda, Rosberg, Senna, Mansell and Hill. But adding in the details behind the stats, I would give the title of GOAT to Jim Clark despite just two championships.

  7. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
    2nd March 2023, 18:43

    I dont know about you guys but I heard a rumour that Hamilton will quit by the end of the year…

    1. OK, Ted.

      Did anyone else notice that Ted asked Mercedes to comment on rumors of a B-spec chassis, when it was Ted who created the rumor of a B-spec chassis originally?

  8. Well, in a way this is good news for some I guess. The grid without Lewis would be one dull friendly environment with competitors inviting each other to look at YT shorts or play FIFA. Now at least the press is guaranteed controversy, pr schemes, intrigues, toxicity and the like. I personally would have liked to see the new generation on their own without this non-fitting element but hey, it’ll be, next to utterly annoying, also entertaining from time to time.. hopefully.

  9. Meh these are rumours reported by Fox Sports.

    Lewis Hamilton’s $681m payday revealed as champion chases retirement cash
    Hamilton’s new contract would be worth $217.8 million across two years.
    Hamilton is asking for an additional contract as a Mercedes ambassador after he retires, worth $389.6 million over 10 years.

    If Hamilton puts pen to paper on these deals, he would stand to earn $680.9m over the next 13 years.

    The staggering amounts are reportedly financed significantly by Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of chemical multinational Ineos, which also serves as the principal partner of Mercedes-AMG Petronas and holds a 33 per cent stake in the team.

  10. And another unrelated rumour regarding joining the F1 cartel.

    According to Autosport, the 10 teams want to at least triple that figure to US$600 million (A$890 million), with some pushing for an even higher figure still.

    If agreed, the almost $1 billion figure would surely dent Michael Andretti’s bid to join the sport as a new constructor.

    1. It’s OK, Hamilton can fund Andretti’s entry ;)

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