While Lewis Hamilton knows he will have to call time on his Formula 1 career eventually, he is not ready to do that yet.
Hamilton will enter the final year of his Mercedes contract next season, but the signs are that it will not be his last with the team.
Despite previously suggesting that he was reaching the closing stages of his career, now Hamilton seems to be taking a different view, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff revealing that Hamilton told him he still has another five years in him.
And though not confirming any numbers, Hamilton indeed explained that the time for him to retire is not yet on the horizon.
“It’s not forever, but something inside is telling me, ‘you’re not done yet. You’ve got to keep pushing. You’ve got more to do, more to achieve,” said Hamilton as per The New York Times.
“It’s going to be hard one day, stopping racing, I’ve done it for 30 years, and it’ll be 30-plus years when I do eventually stop. Luckily for me, right this second, it’s not now.
“At some stage, I will want to have a family and that will be my full focus, but right now, being in Formula 1 with Mercedes is it.”
Hamilton revealed that his father Anthony and brother Nicolas very much encourage him to keep on racing, whereas his mother and sister are a little less all-in when it comes to pushing his racing interests.
The seven-time World Champion does have a range of interests outside of Formula 1, including businesses, his charitable work and most recently an acting and film production.
“My dad and my brother, they’re like, ‘yeah, keep racing forever,’ because they’re racers,” said Hamilton. “For my mum and my sister, I can definitely sense they want me to do whatever I want to do.
“They can also see how tiring it is, that it weighs heavy on you. Sometimes when I go around to my sister’s house I just pass out on the couch.”
But, while the demands of the Formula 1 schedule take a toll, Hamilton says his love for the series means he has more to give.
“Because there’s no doubt that I love what I do,” said Hamilton when asked why he carries on? “I really do love the challenge every weekend, how we, as a team, show up every weekend.”
The 2022 season was extremely difficult for Hamilton and the Mercedes team. Hamilton, rather than chasing that record eighth World Championship once more, instead suffered a winless season for the first time in his Formula 1 career.
The Mercedes W13 was incapable of putting Hamilton and George Russell into the title picture, but while talk was swirling earlier in the season that this would push Hamilton towards Formula 1’s exit door, Mercedes principal Toto Wolff said he never had such concerns.
Revealing that Hamilton is “very good at sensing what’s right for him,” Wolff added: “We have those conversations regularly, not particularly about a contract extension, but more where we are heading as human beings and what our objectives are. We have that constant discussion.
“I was in no doubt that a down year like this would not trigger him saying goodbye to Formula 1. He is too strong, too resilient and too determined to say, ‘the car is not good enough and that’s why I’m going’.”