Lewis Hamilton insists that his focus on securing a fourth F1 world championship title won't prevent him from standing shoulder to shoulder with his rivals when it comes to the betterment of the sport.
Hamilton has long spoken about his desire for a return to more pure racing in F1, where driver make the difference rather than teams or technology, but is not currently a member of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA). Despite that, however, he maintains that he is right behind the group's push to help shape the future of F1, which manifested itself in the shape of a strongly-worded open letter issued between the Australian and Bahrain grands prix.
"I was a member for some years and then I opted out, but I was in the meeting when we all sat collectively together and discussed certain issues," Hamilton confirmed, "Personally, I felt there was more time to be gained, in trying to win the race, by speaking with my engineers but, when there's something political, or really important, such as after the last race, we all stand together for our love of the sport. There are occasionally issues where a full united front is necessary."
Hamilton, who is very much an individual within the paddock, admitted that his frustration with the unofficial drivers' union stemmed from what he felt were unnecessary discussions that took up time that could have been spent elsewhere.
"They are generally meeting at the drivers briefing or immediately after the drivers briefing, and it's been that way for ten years, every single Friday," he explained, "There are some Fridays when we go there and [FIA race director] Charlie [Whiting] asks if there is anything to comment on about the last race or this race and nobody says anything. And then there are some races where some drivers talk a lot about certain things that I don't necessarily agree on...
For example, Bahrain is not a bumpy track, but there are some bumps in places that add character to the racetrack - and there are a lot of drivers that complain. Ultimately, in a F1 car, you try to run as low as possible and you get to a point where it's too low and you hit those bumps, but the way to fix it is to lift the car, [even if] you lose performance. The tracks have to have bumps, man. If it's completely flat, you lose the fun. If you have bumps, you have to learn to brake or turn just before the bumps - that's what racing is about.
"So sometimes they talk about those things and I disagree..."