Eleven days after hinting that he might retire, an enigmatic Lewis Hamilton on Thursday declared he was planning to hold on main Mercedes’ assault on the Components One file books subsequent yr.
However, he added, virtually teasingly, that “nothing is ready in stone”.
Hamilton was talking on the eve of opening follow for this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix by which he can draw degree with Michael Schumacher as a seven-time world champion.
Whereas sending a transparent message that he loves his job, his sport and his crew, he retained a caveat that ensures he has a powerful place within the long-delayed negotiations about his future, if and after they occur.
“I believe it is one thing we’ll do,” he advised reporters at a digital information convention. “If not after the job is completed, then significantly on the finish of the yr, however nothing is ready in stone.
“I believe it is nearly speaking about it and, in the intervening time, I do not really feel like I am completed. I believe there’s at all times areas to enhance.
“I like racing, I like the problem and I do not assume that is going to vary any time quickly.”
To many observers, or listeners, it appeared that he wished to clarify he’ll start talks as soon as his seventh drivers’ title is wrapped up –- however, on the similar time, he wished to maintain alive the concept he would possibly go away F1.
“I consider I’ve the most effective contract that there’s, when it comes to the way it’s structured and when it comes to time-management,” Hamilton defined.
“With the crew that is put round me, I believe it has been nice.”
Unconfirmed experiences have claimed that Mercedes are poised to supply Hamilton a three-year deal price £40 million ($52.5 million) a yr, however the Englishman –- a seasoned professional at each the negotiations and the thoughts video games round them –- swerved away from hearsay and as a substitute despatched a message of hope about equality and variety in his sport sooner or later.
– Information ‘imply extra from exterior’ –
Requested in regards to the significance to him of equalling Schumacher’s file of seven titles, he mentioned it was a query he’s requested “on a regular basis”.
“And, naturally, I believe the numbers and the figures and the titles and all that stuff — it maybe seems to imply extra from the skin. I bear in mind watching the TV and watching Michael get the seventh and being like, ‘Wow!’ However whenever you’re in it, it is completely different.
“Matching an icon like Michael, I might be extremely pleased with that, however I believe it is extra the message that it sends, hopefully, to folks.
“Not simply children, however hopefully principally children — as a result of they’re the long run — that it’s a must to dream larger than you assume you possibly can dream –– and do not let anybody inform you you possibly can’t go for that.”
As the game’s first black race winner and champion, from a modest household background, he has develop into an emblem of hope.
“We’ll proceed to battle for extra championships,” he added.
“We’ll proceed to try to enhance and proceed to race and do what we do and what we love doing.
“However I believe what’s necessary is that the journey this yr has been mixed with the battle for equality and an actual rising means of studying what’s occurring all over the world and being somewhat bit extra conscious of out environment and beginning to see progress with that.”
Turning to this weekend’s race and the title, he mentioned he was nonetheless “taking it one race at a time”.
“You by no means really know whether or not it’ll occur,” he mentioned. “I am not targeted on the ‘what ifs’… I am targeted on making ready myself the identical as I’ve finished earlier than to try to ship the way in which I’ve been doing all this season.”