Lewis Hamilton reveals he has never spoken to another team during his Formula 1 career with Mercedes and expects a new contract with the team to be a formality.
The four-time world champion is out of contract at the end of the year, with negotiations having started over a new deal toward the end of last season. While no extension has been agreed so far, Hamilton says talks with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff are ongoing and he is not concerned how long they take based on the trust he has in the team.
“Me and Toto have been talking for a while,” Hamilton said. “Once I left in December, I was away. It’s not something I particularly like to do over the phone, and I didn’t get back until February. During that time we spoke very often, we’ve constantly been talking to each other.
“Toto knows that I know there is no one better, so he’s not going to be looking anywhere else, and he knows that I know there is no one else better, so I’m not going to be looking anywhere else. So we’re comfortable and we’re committed to each other. It’s just about talking out the details.
“Hopefully we’ll have something done before the new season, before we start the first race. But again we’re just in no rush. There’s no reason to rush anything. There’s no panic. I’m not feeling under any pressure. Toto and Mercedes have no reason to feel that I’m talking to anyone else. In the whole six years I’ve been here, I haven’t spoken to another team once. I think that shows my commitment.
“I know that the team have been contacted by other drivers in the past and probably still do today. That’s inevitable. But we always made it clear that if I was to engage and look at my options, I would inform them, and I’ve not needed to because I haven’t.”
Asked what it is that he contemplates over the winter, Hamilton says he questions when he will want to focus on interests outside of F1 but finds his motivation to return increases after a period of time off.
“You can have down time. We’ve had a successful year. How can you get to what’s next? Do you still want to come back and do these interviews? Do you still want to win races, still want to do qualifying? Do you enjoy driving the car? Can you be better? What areas can you be better? Or there are other passions that I have that I am as passionate about as racing. At what point do they take priority? All the different things that you have to take decision-wise.
“It’s not a case of ‘I’ve got to go to the gym.’ It’s kind of one day, after an amount of time, I miss working out and I look forward to getting back to it. As you get back into that training process, you start then to discover your goals again. It’s quite simple. I want to somehow be better than I was last year.
“Last year was I think the best year that I’ve had performance-wise. How can I top that? How can I improve on what was a very, very strong year? But there are lots of areas actually. And even still my relationship with the team is constantly growing. How do I use their genius to help me achieve my goal? And how do I interact with them to help achieve their goal? Ultimately utilizing them to get my goal helps them to get theirs.”