Lewis Hamilton intends to sign one final contract with Mercedes before bringing down the curtain on his glittering Formula 1 career.
Hamilton begins his championship victory parade in Mexico this weekend after securing his third world title in last Sunday’s dramatic United States Grand Prix.
It would be awesome to finish my career with this teamLewis Hamilton
The 30-year-old joined Mercedes from McLaren in 2013 and has won 22 of the 54 races he has subsequently competed in. Earlier this year, he committed his future to the sport’s dominant team until the end of 2018. And, speaking upon Formula 1’s return to Mexico, Hamilton says he has no interest in ending his F1 journey, which has so far yielded 43 victories and three titles, with a rival team.
“I imagine beyond this three-year deal there could be one more contract of three or four years and that would be it for me,” said Hamilton.
“There was always that talk of driving another car and I have done that. Ticked that box off. I honestly can’t see myself anywhere else.
“In three-and-a-half to four years’ time you don’t know where we are going to be. I don’t like to say never, but I think it would be pretty awesome to finish my career with this team. That would be amazing.”
Hamilton, who has often been linked with a romantic move to Ferrari, appeared to pour scorn on driving for the famous Italian team. He added: “When you finish at Mercedes you are part of the family forever. When you finish at Ferrari you are not. Ferrari is bigger than everyone.
“Michael Schumacher is still a part of Mercedes even though he was only here for a couple of years. Sir Stirling Moss, too. It is like a lifetime bond you have with them. If you move you break that a little bit.”
Much of the talk in the paddock ahead of tomorrow’s race in Mexico City has centred around how many more championships Hamilton may win.
Nigel Mansell, Britain’s 1992 world champion, believes Schumacher’s record haul of seven titles is within reach for his compatriot. “I think he will get very close if he has the backing,” explained Mansell.
“There are great champions that win world championships, but they don’t get an opportunity to defend them or then go on to win multiple world championships.
“Lewis has done something really special because he has got himself in a position with the team he came into Formula 1 with at McLaren, and then going with Mercedes has just been wonderful.
“It is an absolutely outstanding and fantastic achievement. He should be on top of the world and next year as well.”
For his part, Hamilton is keen not to outstay his welcome in the sport. Schumacher called time on his career when he was 36, but returned to the sport in 2010 with Mercedes and raced until he was 43. “I remember watching Michael, and he was amazing, but for every year he stayed that was one less seat for somebody else who could have potentially come along,” said Hamilton.
“Maybe there wasn’t anybody good enough at the time, but I just remember how it happened for me. At the end of 2006, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen left McLaren so there was one seat available. That gave me position to move.
“If they had not moved maybe I would not be in this position today and I would be somewhere else so I am just conscious I don’t want to hog it.
“I have earned my time here so it is not like I am going to get to 37, 38 and feel like I have not earned it. I could stay here because I am driving well, but I just feel there is a point in which I have done my piece here, I’ve done 15 years in the sport so I am going to let someone else come in.”