Abu Dhabi 21, Tom Brady, turns 40 – What’s behind Hamilton’s new F1 deal

Barring any sudden development such as injury or worse, Hamilton intends to extend his time at Mercedes in Formula 1 until the 2024 and 2025 seasons – in the process competing in 13 seasons.

That’s two races more than the current record of 11 which he currently shares with Michael Schumacher, after the German raced for Ferrari between 1996 and 2006. Hamilton already leads the world in terms of the record number of races started by a single team, having started 213 races for Mercedes. To 180 for Schumacher with the Scuderia.

The Hamilton-Mercedes partnership is known to be one of the sport’s great success stories, with the team emphasizing its 82 wins and 72 pole positions as part of that in announcing its new two-year contract – with teammate George Russell also receiving an extension until the end of 2025. – At the 2023 Italian Grand Prix this weekend.

Just an hour after the news was revealed, Hamilton confronted the media at the official pre-event press conference at Monza, where he spoke about the intentions behind his new deal.

This included many interesting aspects of his current mentality and revealed a driver, at 38, who feels his time competing in Formula 1 is far from over.

The initial leitmotif was his comment that he and Mercedes have “unfinished business” to achieve in F1 – a reference to their shared desire to regain the championship titles they lost to Max Verstappen and Red Bull in 2021.

Also hanging in the air were memories of the controversial moments of that season and its end, as Hamilton lost the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which he had won due to an incorrect administrative decision that gave his competitor the opportunity to change the direction of the race and the championship. in full.

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner shakes hands with Lewis Hamilton, second-placed Mercedes

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner shakes hands with Lewis Hamilton, second-place Mercedes

Photo: Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

When asked what he particularly means by ‘unfinished business’, Hamilton replied: ‘We’re trying to win more world championships and I think the unfinished business takes us back to the top – it’s coming back and fighting for the world championship.

“We’ve been the most successful team in history and the most successful in the last 10 years or something, but it was a challenge last year (when Mercedes got it badly wrong with its initial designs for Formula 1’s latest ground effect era).

“So, I think it takes us back to where we belong and working with all our might, which is what you see Red Bull doing.”

“It’s not about redemption. We know (Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021) is in the past.” Lewis Hamilton

But Hamilton insisted that regarding his 2021 loss, in which he pledged in early 2022 that “if you think what you saw (in 2021) was my best, wait until you see this year” before it became clear that the Mercedes W13 was too far away. . From the leading pace he’s “not really a vindictive person”.

“It’s not about redemption,” he added.

“We know that is in the past. There is nothing you can do about the past, but what we can do is work harder, be more accurate and move better forward, and I truly believe that with this team, we can win more world championships.” Tournaments and more races together.

“This is where all my energy goes.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes with Tom Brady

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes with Tom Brady

Photo by: Mercedes-Benz

Hamilton will be 40 when his final contract with Mercedes expires, which naturally turns thinking towards exactly how to stimulate that energy.

In particular, he draws inspiration from NFL legend Tom Brady, who played in 23 consecutive seasons until his retirement earlier this year at the age of 45.

The pair have met – they played golf together ahead of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix in 2022 – and share a special approach to their diet and fitness regimes to continue performing as well in their later careers as they did when they reached a high level in their careers. The tournaments involved are in their early twenties.

Hamilton is a vegetarian, while Brady, who is famous for his strict approach to diet to the point where he eats avocado-flavored ice cream and never eats strawberries, highlights the importance of a predominantly plant-based diet in how he plays. For a long time in physically demanding sports like the NFL.

“I think I look up to people like Tom Brady, who is an incredible athlete and has shown what can be done today (compared to past sporting eras),” Hamilton said.

“He is the true role model that all athletes should look up to, and I’m really lucky that I was able to talk to him and understand his world, what he constantly does to stay fit, and he expressed that.” In the media anyway.”

But Hamilton added that “of course, it’s great to see Fernando (Alonso)” racing and succeeding with Aston Martin, in Formula 1 at the age of 42.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, second place, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin Formula 1 Team, third place, on the podium.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, second place, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin Formula 1 Team, third place, on the podium.

Photography: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Pictures

“He was here long before I retired and obviously he came back and did a great job,” Hamilton said of his former McLaren teammate and title rival, referring to Alonso’s hiatus in Formula 1 between 2019 and 2021.

“It just goes to show that your talent never leaves you, as long as you have that passion and that commitment, you can keep going.”

Despite his commitment to Mercedes for the next two years, Hamilton’s will to win will continue to be tested as long as Mercedes remains behind Red Bull in the Formula 1 standings.

“If it’s not next year, we’ll keep working for it, but in my heart, I really believe that if it’s not next year, it’s next year, we’ll be there (fighting for wins).” Lewis Hamilton

It is understood that Hamilton was influential in Mercedes’ decision to abandon the “Zeropod” car design that began the current rules era at the start of this season, which is likely reflected in his comment that when it came to being convinced about the future prospects of the team, “It is not necessarily what he says.” someone, it is the work you do (together).”

“It’s the meetings we had with all the engineers, with James Allison (who is back as technical director of Mercedes this year) and the whole group at the factory.”

“The heads of all departments are coming together and talking and interacting better than ever before about where we are, what mistakes we made, why we made those decisions, why we won’t make them again, and where we’re going.” ”

Having finally signed the contract that he and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff insisted for the past three months had already been done in Zandvoort last weekend, Hamilton explained: “I’m not working next year thinking it will take another time.” Four years to get to where we need to be.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W14

Photography: Eric Junius

“But I know it takes time,” he added.

“Of course, in my heart, I very much hope that the decisions we’re making and the direction we’re going will put us in that target zone to be able to fight the Red Bulls and be close and challenge us.” column.

“If it’s not next year, we’ll keep working through it, but in my heart, I truly believe if it’s not next year, it’s next year, we’ll be there.”

Overall, Hamilton concluded that regarding his current place in Formula 1, “I certainly didn’t think I’d be at this age and feel the way I do physically and mentally, and I still love what I do as much as I do.” I do”.

Perhaps that, more than anything else, was the understanding in the sweltering press conference room at Monza on Thursday afternoon.

If ‘business’ is today’s topic for the biggest news story, for Hamilton his next deal with Mercedes remains in effect ‘business as usual’ – targeting Formula 1 victories and world titles.

“A lot of people stay in the same jobs and roles for a long period of time, and then they fall out of love with it but they keep going because it’s probably the only thing they can do,” he explained.

“But for me, I still really have that love for what I do.

“I still love riding the car, I still love racing with my mates and I still love working alongside Bono (engineer Peter Bonnington, who Hamilton joked was ‘stuck’ working with his driver) and all the people in the garage on the team. , chasing this Common goal and dream.

“And I love that feeling when you have your lows together and your highs together. There’s nothing like it.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, pole position, celebrates after the race with the Federation Flag

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, pole position, celebrates after the race with the Federation Flag

Photography: Andy Hone / Motorsport Pictures

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