Lewis Hamilton has confirmed that he has every intention of signing a new deal with Mercedes once the titles are wrapped up.
The six-time World Champion, at the wheel of the W11, took a record 92nd win of his career at the Portuguese Grand Prix and it seems little can stop him on his path to a seventh World Championship, or even an eighth.
Nothing perhaps Hamilton himself.
It’s strange to think that Mercedes still haven’t agreed new terms beyond 2020 with their prized asset, though team boss Toto Wolff has said consistently that it has been down to not being able to find the right time to discuss and finalise a new contract.
But, importantly Hamilton says his journey with Mercedes is “definitely not over”.
“Naturally I think already last year, in Hungary last year I think Toto [Wolff] was talking about signing a contract,” Hamilton told Sky Sports.
“Of course the pandemic wasn’t then and you look back and you’re like maybe I should have signed it then. But the thing is I just think things happen at the right time and I definitely wasn’t ready mentally at the time.
“I wanted to give myself the space mentally to really think about what I want to do, think if there’s any adjustments for me and for the team, how can we get more out of each other – how can I give them an easier time.
“I definitely don’t think it’s over. I want to continue. I think once we get the job done and the stress of the bubble and everything passes on, we can get to whatever comfortable or uncomfortable position we need to be in and we’ll get it done so we can continue.
“I still want to continue to race but I don’t know how much longer it will be.
“It’s definitely not going to be a long time before I stop, so this is a period of time where I’ve got to slowly work out what the future holds.
“It’s bright, whatever I decide to do, but it also has to be aligned with the times, it has to be aligned with my values and it has to be aligned with what the team is planning to do.
“All I can say is that I plan to be here next year.”
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) October 25, 2020
Hamilton spoke of how when he left McLaren for Mercedes in 2013 he felt that finally his voice was being heard, while over the years he has learnt to become a leader which he couldn’t be in his younger days.
“When I was younger, obviously I wasn’t always listened to,” he explained.
“When I joined this team, I had all these ideas. I looked at the car they had with Michael [Schumacher] and with Nico [Rosberg], and I was like this has got to change, and this has got to change. I changed a bunch of things and they listened to me, and it continued that way together.
“When you’re 22, you’re young and enthusiastic but you haven’t necessarily got the maturity. At the time I was young, I didn’t know what I could say yes and no to and I didn’t know how to be a team leader. What 22-year-old does?
“Now I’m part of this incredible team, we are leaders together.
“We challenge each other and I know when I listen to the strategists in the morning, I know which parts I need to digest, which questions I need to ask, and when I’m on the track I know how far I can go and how far I’m going to go. That comes with experience.”