F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?
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Lewis Hamilton believes he won’t be following in the footsteps of Kimi Raikkonen and continue racing until he’s 41 as he spoke about his Formula One career being the “biggest ride” of his life.
The 36-year-old has been hounded about his future plans in the championship after opting for a one-year deal with Mercedes this season, as the seven-time world champion chases down a record-breaking eighth title.
The Briton is currently the third oldest F1 driver on the grid behind Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, 39, and Kimi Raikkonen, 41, at Alfa Romeo, who have three world titles between them.
Speaking ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, which saw Max Verstappen leapfrog Hamilton in the driver’s standings to take the lead for the first time in his Formula One career, the reigning world champion was asked by AS if he may take a leaf out of Raikkonen’s book.
“I don’t think so,” stated Hamilton.
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“I don’t think I’m going to drive forever, even if this was the biggest ride of my life.
“There’s a lot of things I want to keep doing for a while, but others don’t.
“I’d have five years left for that, and I don’t think I’m going to keep running then, even if you never say never.”
Hamilton has recently expressed interest in starting contract negotiations with Mercedes for 2022, with a hope to get talks wrapped up by F1’s summer break in August, admitting delays last time out “ruined” his winter.
Team principal Wolff recently expressed that Hamilton’s next deal will be longer than a 12-month add-on.
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“Yes, it should be [more than a year],” he said. “We don’t want to be in a stressful situation every single year where we are absolutely flat-out trying to win races and needing to negotiate. I would rather that doesn’t happen every year.
“We just need to spend a day or two together, put it out there, and decide which are the difficult components. We will then lock the door and won’t walk out until it is sorted. That works best for us and it has worked best for us in the past. “
Hamilton will be 37 in January, however Wolff linked his longevity in the championship to the NFL star Tom Brady, who won his seventh Super Bowl at the age of 43 earlier this year.
Asked if Hamilton can compete into his 40s, Wolff replied: “Yes, absolutely. I have no doubt about that. He is so disciplined that in a way it is inspiring.
“As long as Lewis continues to look after himself mentally and physically, continues to develop cognitively, then he can go on for much longer.
“Look at Tom Brady and we are talking about an athlete that is on the field. Here is a racing driver that has utilised all his senses. “
Mercedes look to bounce back after a tricky weekend in Monaco which saw Valtteri Bottas retire during a pit stop, and Hamilton finish seventh – leaving them trailing Red Bull in the standings.
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