Lewis Hamilton revealed it was his pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix this season that convinced him he still had a future in F1.
After months of speculation, Hamilton signed a two-year extension to his Mercedes deal taking him to the end of the 2025 season and what will be his 19th season in Formula 1.
But the deal took far longer than many expected with it initially thought to have been done over the winter break and Hamilton has revealed what was stopping him from confirming his future.
Lewis Hamilton cites Hungarian pole as motivation to continue
Without a win since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Hamilton is in the most barren run of his career and with the Red Bull car a step above the competition, it looks as if that dry streak will continue for a little while yet.
With seven world titles in the bag, Hamilton is not the kind of person to be happy with the odd podium and it seems that inability to win gave him serious concern that his time in F1 was done.
“There are so many things that go through your mind when things are going wrong,” he told Sky Sports Italy. “You start asking so many questions about yourself about the environment you’re in, whether you’ve stayed too long and have you overstayed your welcome in the team.
“Do they [Mercedes] need someone fresh? They want to keep me but they love me so are they doing me a favour or do you really deserve the space? There’s so many things that you ask yourself.”
But Hamilton’s reaffirmation came in Budapest when he beat Max Verstappen to pole for the first time since that 2021 race in Jeddah.
“It was so special,” Hamilton said of that lap. “Calming down and realising ‘no, this is where we are going, we’re in this together, we’re going to get there’ and then you get a pole position.
“That reminded me of the past and just confirmed to me that I still have what it takes to compete at the front. I know a lot of people out there are like ’38 I’m getting old’. I’m like ‘I feel great. I feel young. I can still train, I can still drive.’
“There’s so much more to do and so I’m just about pushing myself.”