Lewis Hamilton extending F1 career to help Mercedes overcome troubles

Sam Cooper
Lewis Hamilton puts in his earpiece. Imola April 2022.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton puts in his radio earpiece on the grid ahead of the race. Imola April 2022.

Lewis Hamilton has revealed Mercedes’ troubles in 2022 has given him fresh motivation to continue in Formula 1.

Mercedes’ troubles this campaign have been well documented and with just six races left, the reigning Constructors’ champions have yet to win a race.

2022 also posed a new challenge for Hamilton. Having entered the sport in 2007, there has rarely been a season when he has not been competing for wins and Championships.

As it stands, he is on course for his worst ever finish in the Drivers’ standings but he said the new challenge of dealing with a wounded Mercedes has given him a fresh boost in terms of his career.

“Definitely because it’s going to take longer than one year,” Hamilton told RACER in regards to a potential eighth World Championship.

“I think if we had just won last year and then we would win this year, definitely life would be in a different place and you’d be on a different course.

“I love that it’s gone through a phase even harder and we’ve got to pull through that thick slog and get to the point where we are a little bit lighter and we’re floating a little bit more. So yeah, I would say that it’s encouraged me to stay longer.

“Plus I’m feeling fit, I’m finding ways of feeling better physically. The mental challenge is a consistent thing and that will always be the case because that’s how it is for us athletes, because we’re on the edge.

“But right now, where I am in life, I’m really grateful for the opportunity I have here. I like to think I still deserve a place here, and there is lots of work to do.”

Hamilton also said he takes inspiration from the likes of Tom Brady when he sees other athletes competing at a high level despite their age.

“People like Tom; I’ve been to the Super Bowl and seen him come from, like, his head in his hands as they’re losing, and then pulling it back with incredible mental strength.

“Also, he’s an older athlete and he’s killing it right now – I’m like, ‘I want whatever you’re having!’. So there’s lots to learn from everybody.

“The same with Serena (Williams), (Roger) Federer, even Lebron (James) – there’s loads of incredible athletes out there doing great things.

“And to be able to be a part of that peer set – I always hoped one day we’d be able to relate to each other, so it’s very surreal to sit with Tom and us to talk to each other on a similar wavelength. It’s very, very, very surreal, very cool.”

What can Lewis Hamilton achieve in the twilight stage of his career?

With Sebastian Vettel retiring, Hamilton will become the second-oldest driver in F1 in 2023 behind only the superhuman Fernando Alonso.

At 37 years of age and with seven Drivers’ Championships in his presumably very large trophy cabinet, there is not a lot left for Hamilton to achieve in the sport.

Of course, there is sill the matter of that eighth World Championship which would move him one clear of Michael Schumacher and make him, statistically at least, the greatest driver to ever compete in the sport.

Hamilton has hinted that is where his focus lies and given Mercedes form in 2022, there is no guarantee that title will come in 2023.

Vettel’s retirement also means Hamilton becomes the sole driver on the grid willing to speak out on the issues he believes in. Hamilton will be a superstar long after he hangs up his racing gloves but there is no doubt that he will receive greater media coverage whilst he is still in the sport.

With that in mind, Hamilton will want to use that platform to his benefit and promote causes like his Mission 44 foundation and other charitable causes.

The Brit also seems passionate about ushering in the next generation having reined at the top for so long. In the same interview with RACER he spoke of wanting to create an enjoyable work environment for not only his team-mate George Russell but also for the likes of Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris.

The final stage of his career could also see him move towards the business side of things. Even when Hamilton retires from driving, he has no doubt earned a lifetime job at Mercedes and he may even serve in a Niki Lauda style role sometime in the future.

Whatever is next for Hamilton, given what he has done for the sport there is no doubt that he, and he alone, that decides.