Lewis Hamilton says he wants to stay in Formula 1 but doesn’t know exactly what he wants from his next contract as he tries to keep his focus chasing a seventh drivers’ championship at the Turkish Grand Prix.
If Hamilton drops no more than seven points compared to teammate Valtteri Bottas in Istanbul then he will become world champion for the fourth year in a row, and secure a seventh title. This weekend comes against a backdrop of Hamilton saying there are no guarantees he’ll still be in F1 next year having yet to sign a new Mercedes contract, but while he is clear that he plans on staying he admits he’s undecided what he wants his next deal to be.
“Believe it or not, I haven’t got all the answers to what I want to do yet,” Hamilton said. “The foundation of the contract that I have… I believe I have the best contract that there is in terms of how it’s structured, in terms of time management, the team that’s put around me — it has been great.
“I’m always looking to see how we can improve. How can I be more efficient and do more for the partners? How can I position myself to do more for the team? Naturally in this step I think it’s easy to just go and sign a deal and continue, not having thought of what’s afterwards.
“I’m very conscious of the idea that I do want to continue with Mercedes — I’d love to help them on this quest pushing for change. They’re obviously taking their cars green and electrifying more — I’d like to help them on that road. I’d like to help them in terms of pushing for diversity, because within the organization — as with every organization out there — there’s not enough of it. So there’s a lot to discuss and a lot to go through, but I think that’s something we’ll do if not after the job is done then particularly at the end of the year.
“But nothing’s set in stone, it’s just about talking about it. At the moment I don’t feel like I’m finished, I don’t feel like moving forward… There’s always areas to improve. I love racing, I love the challenge and I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon.”
As he stands on the verge of matching Michael Schumacher’s record of championships, Hamilton also says he has learned from experience to be able to comfortably deal with the prospect of winning the title on Sunday.
“When I step away from this incredible sport I just go back and do normal stuff. I just don’t really think about it and I’ve really not thought about it coming into this weekend. I don’t really know why, I’m just always focused on the goal which is to win the race.
“I just keep that as the focus and with experience I remember when I was fighting for my first world championship and I remember the build-up to those races towards the end, and the pressure that was there. That was not needed. If I knew then what I know now then I would have easily won that championship at the end, I think! But hindsight’s always a great thing.
“Over the years I’ve learned not to add pressure that’s unnecessary. We still have four races so I often approach it that I’ve got four races to try and battle for those points — I don’t put it all onto one weekend, one day. So for me this is another race; I need to approach it exactly the same as I have in the past because if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
“Maybe then that’s why sometimes it’s a shock, like when I was in Mexico (in 2018) and all of a sudden it hits you, because you’ve just not thought about it so much. So it hits you and you don’t know what to say, you don’t know how to feel about it because you never truly know whether it’s really going to happen. So I’m not focused on the what if, I’m focused on preparing myself the same as I’ve done before to try and deliver the way I have been doing all of this season.”