20 May 2015
F1 Monaco Grand Prix: Hamilton wants to continue beyond new deal
Lewis Hamilton has hinted that he intends to prolong his F1 career beyond the terms of his contract extension with the Mercedes team.
Lewis Hamilton has said that there is no reason to believe that the extension to his Mercedes contract will be his last in F1.
The Briton inked an extra three years onto his current contract with the Three Pointed Star ahead of this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix and cut a relaxed figure as he met the media on the opening day of the event. He confirmed that he had never felt under pressure to put pen to paper, despite rumours that he was looking to move elsewhere or that Mercedes had already earmarked a successor for 2016 and beyond.
“There was never any doubt, honestly,” Hamilton insisted, “I always felt, or I was led to believe, that the team was committed to and, naturally, with all the success that we have had, the relationship we have, it felt certain. So that's why I kinda took my time. I didn't feel that I was being challenged anywhere by another driver so it was a good thing.
“It is confidential stuff, but we started conversations in February and I didn't feel there was a big rush as, this year, I was still contracted. It wasn't a case of, every single day, I was studying [the contract] and I just took my time really. Also, it was the first time I had ever done [negotiations by myself] so there was a lot to learn and a lot of understanding to do. And I got my ten per cent, so I feel great!”
Dodging the question of whether the deal was for a true three years or if it included an exit clause should performances drop, Hamilton admitted that he had taken a long-range view of the F1 landscape before putting pen to paper, but always had confidence in where the team was headed.
“It would have been very silly if I hadn't taken [the 2017 rule changes] into account,” he pointed out, “Generally, what you have to do whenever you think about the future, is think about the long run and naturally, as I said, when I joined this team, I knew the plans and changes it was making to get where we are now. And, of course, I have analysed where the team plans to go moving forward, so it was a quite easy decision [to re-sign].”
Asked whether he viewed the extension, which takes him through to his 33rd year, as potentially his last deal in F1, the double world champion shrugged but, sitting between two of F1's elder statesmen in Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button, his response suggested that he was also taking a long-term view as to his own career.
“ is still pretty young hopefully, so I definitely see me continuing past that...,” he smiled.
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