Lewis Hamilton says he “can definitely do five years” more in Formula 1, and is conscious of squandering opportunities if he retires.
As reported by Motorsport.com, the five-time World Champion was speaking to US talk show host David Letterman before the start of the 2019 campaign and appears in an episode of the second season of Letterman’s Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction – it was released on the online streaming service on Friday.
Hamilton was interviewed by Letterman during the off-season and at Mercedes‘ W10 shakedown at Silverstone in February, and despite some rumours of him retiring from the sport when his Silver Arrows’ deal expires at the end of 2020, the Brit has expressed his desire to carry on.
“Michael retired when he was 38. I’m 33. In my mind I can definitely do five years,” Hamilton is quoted by Motorsport.com. “I am ridiculously determined to win.
“What really drives me, and I feel that somewhat the people I race against may lack, is that fire.
“I’ve got this opportunity. I could easily let go of it right now but I feel like I would be squandering it if I didn’t continue to improve, grow and push.
“I’ve got to keep going for as long as I can basically – until I’m not enjoying it.”
Hamilton also spoke of his mental health issues throughout his Formula 1 career, but insists the “massive comedowns” have been key to his success.
“It’s a hard, hard year,” stressed Hamilton. “Mentally you have these massive highs, wins and success, but then you have these massive comedowns.
“[It’s] something I’ve never really spoken about but you often do suffer from mental issues – instabilities – and keeping yourself together when you hit rock bottom, which you do as an athlete.
“If you’re lucky you can find strength at rock bottom. It’s about how you get up, not how you fall.”