Lewis Hamilton chasing his eighth Drivers’ Championship title ‘like it’s my first’

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 shakedown

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 shakedown

Lewis Hamilton says he’ll line up on this year’s grid as determined to win title number eight as he was back in 2008 when he was chasing his first.

Hamilton lost the World title to Max Verstappen in 2021, a last-lap-of-the-season pass deciding the outcome in what was a thrilling back-and-forth battle.

Although the Briton was keen to regain it last season, wanting to right what he saw as a wrong, it wasn’t to be as Mercedes’ W13 suffered with extreme porpoising that left the drivers bruised and battered.

The year ended without a single win on the board for Hamilton, the first time that has happened to him in Formula 1.

The 38-year-old is keen to return to the top step of the podium this season as he hunts for a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ Championship title, Hamilton saying he is as motivated and ready as he was when he was seeking his first.

“I love working with the team,” he told Sky Sports News. “Of course our goal is to win a World Championship. I’m not thinking about eight… I’m think about a championship like it’s my first.

“I believe I’ve got the right team in order to do that. I’d be so proud to do that for this team again.”

And it’s a team he intends on being a part of for years to come.

“This has been my life for such a long time and I feel currently fit enough and deserving of my position,” he added, “so I’m going to continue to go for a bit.”

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Mercedes don’t need to ‘prove’ anything to Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff revealed at the launch of the W14 that he’s already had his first chats with Hamilton about extending his contract.

The Briton joined Mercedes in 2013, has won six World titles with the Brackley squad, but his current deal expires at the end of 2023.

Hamilton doesn’t believe he nor Mercedes need to “prove” anything, both parties know they can win together.

“I don’t feel like I need them to prove [anything] to me,” he said.

“I think we’ve proved time and time again over the years that we have strength in depth.

“We still have all these incredible, incredibly talented individuals within the team. As I said, you don’t lose that ability.

“We’re continuing to try and improve our processes. We’re continuing to try and be smarter in how we approach things. And with our communication, I think this is the best harmony within the team that I’ve seen in all these years.

“It’s an exciting time for the team. And I don’t plan on being anywhere else.”

Mercedes ‘much more down to earth’ after 2022’s woes

The driver and his team-mate George Russell concluded a shakedown of the W14 at Silverstone on Thursday, putting in the laps in the rain.

Both declared it to be a “smooth” step in the team’s preparation with the next stop Bahrain for a three-day pre-season test that runs from February 23-25.

This year Hamilton is keeping his feet firmly on the ground after last year’s optimism turned to disappointment.

“The conversations we had, last year… I was optimistic because they were optimistic,” he said. “We had big changes coming up, and I was like ‘this is going to hurt’! But we were all amazed [ by the 2022 scenario].

“So I think this year everyone is much more down to earth, with an approach that’s more like, ‘Maybe we won’t be the fastest at the start, but we have the potential to close the gap’.”