Hamilton signed a new two-year deal with Mercedes which was announced ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

It means Hamilton will race alongside George Russell into his 40s.

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The surprising aspect of the deal was that the contract was only for two more years despite Hamilton’s consistent mantra that he wants to stay in F1 for longer than that.

He reiterated that stance to Sky: “The goal within those two years is 100 per cent to be fighting and win a world championship. We are second in the constructors' championship right now and we want to dethrone those who are at the top. I have 100 per cent faith that we can do that.

“In terms of long-term, I'm thinking about my next contract - what that will look like, how long that will be. I plan to be here for a while.”

However, in the same interview Hamilton made an interesting admission that he could have a change of heart in wanting to stick around.

Mercedes have struggled since the turn of the new technical regulations in 2022, winning just one race since the start of last year.

With them no closer to the front and challenging Red Bull, Hamilton’s patience won’t last forever.

"But it could change,”  he added. “I could come back next year and be like 'damn it'. Who knows? You never know where you are going to be in life but right now I'm very focused on staying positive every day. I know that's not easy for anyone.

"Staying fit and healthy and trying to find that balance of enjoying yourself and your work - balance with family life and all those sort of things. I think I've got a pretty decent balance right now. That's enabling me to really love what I'm doing."