Hamilton: I don't feel like I'm at the end

25/03/2021
NEWS STORY

Lewis Hamilton has played down speculation that his decision to only agree a one-year deal with Mercedes signals his retirement from F1 at season end.

When Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton were finally in a position to make the customary 'announce' in early February, attention turned to the fact that the deal was for just one year.

Other than the obvious speculation over whether it was Mercedes or Hamilton himself behind the decision to limit the deal to one year, attention then focussed on whether the move signalled the world champion's aim of leaving the sport at season end.

Speaking to reporters in Bahrain today, as he prepares for the battle to secure a record eighth title, Hamilton was keen to dismiss speculation that this is his final hurrah.

"We have 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; we've got new teams, new formats and it's closer.

"I don't feel like I'm at the end," he continued, "but only the next eight months or so will let me know and I'll find out if I'm ready to stop or not. I don't think I will, personally... but you never know.

"I love what I'm doing," he insisted, "and I arrive more excited this season than I have for a long time. I just said to 'Bono' that I'm excited to get going," he added, referring to his race engineer Pete Bonnington, "and we are going to have a really great battle one way or another. That's what I've always loved.

"I don't quit when the going gets tough," added the Briton. "I wanted a one-year deal, I'm fully committed to this sport. I think this sport is in the best place it's been in terms of steps we are taking."

A comparatively disappointing pre-season test has many believing that Red Bull heads into the season opener as favourite, and though giving little away, Hamilton is clearly up for the fight.

"We're not the fastest," he admitted. "How are we going to work to get to where we want to be? That challenge is so exciting.

"I am fully confident they have done the absolute best," he added, referring to the team's bid to understand and resolve the issues with the W12 that became apparent during testing, "but it is going to be a continued battle to get the car to be where we want it to be.

"We're in the best shape we can possibly be in considering that we only had three days of testing," he continued. "There's been a huge amount of analysis, the engineers and guys back at the factory... to try and understand, churn the numbers, quantify and make improvements. I think we come here positive."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Bahrain, here.

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Published: 25/03/2021
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