Lewis Hamilton said he is only just getting started in Formula 1 despite winning his seventh drivers’ championship at the age of 35 with victory in yesterday’s Turkish Grand Prix.
With that win, Hamilton matched Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of seven titles, and he has a golden opportunity to make it eight in 2021 given that a number of car components are frozen for next season.
While he has yet to sign a new contract with Mercedes, Hamilton said he plans on extending his stay with the team, believing there is a lot more to be achieved F1.
“I feel like I’m only just getting started; it’s really weird,” Hamilton said. “I feel physically in great shape. Mentally, this year has been the hardest year probably for millions of people, and (while) things always look great here on the big stage, it’s no different for us athletes.
“This (season) has been a challenge that I didn’t know how to get through. But, with the help of great people around me – the team; Team LH – I managed to keep my head above water and stay focused.
“I am really hopeful for a better year next year, and I would love to stay. I feel like we’ve got a lot of work to do here; we’ve only just begun to hold ourselves accountable as a sport.
“We cannot ignore the human rights issues that are going on around the countries we go to, and how we can engage with those countries and help them, empower them to do more to really change – not 10 years from now but now.
“I want to help Formula 1 and Mercedes in that journey. Also, moving (toward more) sustainable as a sport; I want to see if I can be a part of that, at least the first part of that, for a little bit longer.”
Despite that statement and the fact both Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen raced into their 40s in the past decade – as will Fernando Alonso next year – Hamilton insists he can’t see himself doing the same even as he finds further motivation through the fight for equality.
“I don’t think I’ll be here in my 40s, but, still, I’m only 35. I feel young and fresh … There’s more work to do here in this sport. This year we’ve had (an) awakening and I think people, hopefully, are starting to be held accountable – holding themselves accountable and realizing that’s actually not a really bad thing.
“It just means we’ve got to work harder; we’ve got to not be so stubborn, open our minds up and educate ourselves a bit better so we can push for a more equal world. I’m not going to stop fighting for that.
“And then, part-time, maybe I’ll keep racing for a little while!”