Lewis Hamilton says that the race against Red Bull and Max Verstappen has brought him closer to his Mercedes team, and has also rekindled his love for FORMULA 1.
Hamilton has signed a new two-year contract with Mercedes, ensuring the seven-time champion will remain with the team until the end of the 2023 season.
A one-year deal with Mercedes in February for 2021 covered Hamilton’s short-term F1 future, but speculation was rife about his long-term commitment to the sport, with many believing an eighth title in 2021 would see him retire on top.
He made it clear, however, that his future will not be determined by his performance on the track this year as he seeks that record-breaking eighth world title.
He explained after his contract renewal was announced how much he enjoys racing against Red Bull and Verstappen, adding that his passion for continuing to race has not changed.
“At the start of this season, when the cars were so close in performance, pretty much equal, then it was really one of the most exciting times that I’ve had for some time, to be able to have this battle for Red Bull.
“Honestly I was really hoping that it would continue on like that through the rest of the year, but as you’ve seen, they’ve taken a huge leap forwards.
“We’re always in different places in our lives, and it’s important that we take time to evaluate. It’s important that we do what’s right for us in terms of health and mental wellbeing. It’s always a good time to try and reflect and see what’s next. I found myself just waking up, thinking about racing. So I wanted to continue to race.
“And now we’re having this tight battle, yeah, it’s brought me closer to the team, it’s brought me closer to the engineers. It’s making me dig deeper, and I love that.
“I guess it has been reinvigorating the love that I have for this sport and love for what I do.”
Hamilton also remains committed to “be a part of helping the sport evolve and be as great as it can be”, and he praised Mercedes for helping him make a long-lasting impact.
“It’s amazing to see what Mercedes are doing, the support that they’ve given me through this period with BLM, with turning the whole car black for the second year in a row, for really pushing for a more diverse and inclusive environment,” Hamilton said. “It’s amazing, the conversations we’ve had. It’s an amazing, new part of the journey that we’ve started.
“For sure, several years ago, I could only have dreamed of being in this position. I’m excited for what that can be,” concluded Hamilton.