Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2019

Hamilton says he’s not hit his peak and wants “huge challenge” of 2021 rules

2019 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says he isn’t thinking of calling time on his Formula 1 career yet as he prepares to clinch a likely sixth worth championship title.

The Mercedes driver indicated he is considering extending his stay at the team beyond the end of the 2020 F1 season, when his current contract expires. Hamilton also said he’s keen to race the new 2021 cars revealed yesterday.

“Nothing’s obviously set in stone for the future,” he said. “But I definitely am enjoying what I’m doing right now and I don’t see any reason of stopping because I love what I do.

“And yes, when there’s a challenge such as a whole new massive change in the regulations, that’s a huge challenge for me as a driver to use my skills and the things I’ve learned over the years to help navigate the team and try to steer the team in the right direction to develop the fastest car and go back into having those consistent seasons and punching out performances.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said last week rumours Hamilton could be lured away by Ferrari had been “blown out of proportion”. Hamilton also indicated he intends to stay where he is.

“I don’t particularly see myself going anywhere else,” he said. “I love being here at Mercedes. I love being a part of the brand. I love being a part of the history.

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“The idea of standing with Mercedes, I’ve always said it for a long time, I’ve been [here] since I was 13 years old. So the idea of continuing on with them even beyond non-Formula 1, probably heavily involved within Daimler and beyond I think is quite attractive.”

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A sixth world championship will bring him within one of the all-time record held by Michael Schumacher. Hamilton said he hasn’t set a target for how many titles he wants to win.

“I’m already achieving dreams that I didn’t even think that I would have,” he said. “I feel very privileged, obviously, to have the five that I have. That’s always the approach I have.

“If I’m able to get the sixth one it would be unreal. But naturally I’m going to be racing for more years. And I want to win every year.

“But it’s not always the case. Some people don’t even have one. So I just have to be grateful for the ones that I do have.

“We’ll see. I definitely don’t think I’ve hit peak yet, so that’s comforting. And I plan to continue to get stronger. So who knows what the future holds, but believe me, I’ll be pushing more than ever in these following years.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
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39 comments on “Hamilton says he’s not hit his peak and wants “huge challenge” of 2021 rules”

  1. Not his peak yet..

    Ok then. He must be a slow peaker, 34 year old. He expects to beat father time over a season?

    1. Mansell and Schumacher both got poles in their 40s in not so dominant cars.
      Admittedly I think MV will be the new benchmark for poles from now on. Stunning on Saturday.

      1. Whether that happens, is more dependent on the car than anything. Lewis has pulled out some stunning Q3 laps this season too, so really it’s going to come down to who has the best car in qualifying trim for that track.

        If RB gets an upper hand, then Max could become the benchmark, but equally he won’t be if Merc or Ferrari have the edge.

      2. At a grand total of 1 pole…Max is the benchmark? Jolly good.

      3. @bigjoe Where does this come from all of a sudden? It’s not like Verstappen has shown to be a great qualifier. Ricciardo had 2 poles in 2018 vs Verstappen 0. Now finally he’s without Ricciardo so he can score some poles of his own, but it’s still only 2 (and one of those he ruined)

    2. @jureo Fangio won his last WDC at 46 yrs of age and he is arguably the greatest driver of all time. So Hamilton has a bit of time left if he chooses.

      1. While that’s true, it misses out the context. Fangio’s greatest rival for his last WDC at age 46 was Stirling Moss, aged 28 – remarkably young for that era. Why wasn’t he competing against a field of drivers in their 30s? Because there were _very_ few opportunities in motorsport from 1939 until about 1947, due to the Second World War.

        1. Few opportunities to race, and sadly only too many opportunities for many young and fast people with good reflexes to get killed in WWII.

      2. That was a different sport then.

        Hamilton will be in terminal decline soon. Even now he has to substitute raw ability with Experience.

        If he had a true #1 in that second Mercedes aged 22 or there about, he would get in loads of trouble.

        Offcorse he would prepare the car better, nurse tires better and have all maners of political skills at his disposal. But not his former speed.

        1. People like you make me laugh haha your username says it all though

        2. @jureo

          He seems to be as quick as he ever was, but now with loads of experience and the ability to read a whole race and indeed a whole season.

          Whatever makes you think he has got slower?

        3. Just age, as brilliant as he is he is getting old. In 10 years he’ll be like old Schumacher, to slow for the new Rosberg that will come around.

    3. The data I’ve found indicated that response time is gained since a minimum at the beginning of adulthood. The change is gradual, maybe less than 0.1 sec gained over a decade.

      This correlates with F1 observation, sometime around 40 is too old. But it varies with individual.

      Response time isn’t the only thing, and my understanding is strength doesn’t really decline until after hormone changes around 40.

      Hamilton can expect a few more years, he can hope for several, but being the best beyond 40 is dreaming.

  2. I like that he’s stilling hungry like a boss :8

  3. One of the big issues for f1 for long time has been that they are introducing boring stuff that is not exciting and the punch line has always been the same You will eventually get used to it. Ugly noses, bad sounding engines, bad levels of competition for wins, too much electronics controlling everything, fuel saving, halo. I am not against all of these but the theme of f1 has been too long about downgrading everything and then just telling people to get used it to it. When was the last time f1 brought out something amazing?

    2021 seems a mixed bag in this regard. I still think drs will stay (sadly), the awful engines stay, the cars become even more heavier (heaviest of all time?) and there is a dangerous move towards more spec design and more similar looking cars. At best 2021 just fixes two issues. Too much dirty air because of massive downforce levels and in long term the budget gap should bring the teams closer. However there are also obvious issues with the tires. Heavier cars and new tire tech will only increase the chance of pirelli not getting it right once again. Is this amazing? Or is it yet more “you get used to it eventually” thing?

    1. @socksolid
      Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.

    2. When was the last time f1 brought out something amazing?

      Yesterday. I think the new 2021 cars are looking great and the compromise of being slower but (hopefully) better at racing is worth it.

      The engines will never go back to V8s or higher, nor will they go full electric – so why change something just for the sake of it and introduce huge costs for the existing crop of manufactures (one of them barely hanging to F1), while none is interested in joining. More spec parts is good for the smaller teams and will not create a spec series, because there seems to be enough room for developing and differentiating the important bits.

      1. So the amazing thing about these cars is that they are a passable compromise at being slower while not being ugly (hopefully?) while hopefully (succesfully?) fixing an aero issue with the current cars? Yay, what a time to be fan. Were these rules made to keep ferrari/mercedes/red bull happy or to keep the viewers happy?

    3. @socksolid

      The front engined 8 in-lines sounded totally awesome!
      Can you imagine going back to front positioned engines lol

      1. I’d pick straight 8 engines (even without superchargers) front engine f1 cars over self driving electric cars…

        1. @socksolid
          To be fair, Electric motor F1 with no radio comms could release entertainment potential. If you don’t mind seeing a lot of DNFs.
          I know from test riding a Zero motorcycle, EVs are different on and off the power.

  4. When was the last time f1 brought out something amazing?

    The engines – they are truly amazing

    the awful engines stay

    I guess we differ on this then

  5. LH’s peak was 2014 when he achieved the 4th most % wins in a season after MS and SV. Beating FA’s consecutive podium finish haul. (Albeit in a vastly more dominant car)

    1. That peak is more to do with relevant dominance of the car than driver peak. For example, the LH of the past 2-3 years looks like a better driver in many aspects than the 2014 version.

      1. @simon999 I wouldn’t bother, ‘bigjoe’ is like those right-wing tabloids obsessed with Meghan Markle.

        1. BigJoe is the highlight of this site! Great entertainment!! You crack on BigJoe. We love you.

  6. If LH wanted a challenge he should have pushed for RIC as a team mate. Is anyone happy to see DR at Renault? (except Lewis of course)

    1. You really are weirdly obsessed with one driver.
      Formula 1’s only ever black driver.

      1. Give a man enough rope…
        It won’t be long.

  7. Still hope he goes to Ferrari.
    Winning a WDC there would really make him immortal.

    1. @coldfly
      You betcha. As it would require him to do his own pit stops.
      Or he could take half the UK Brackley team with him and do a Schumacher.

      1. So remind us again why he would have to do his own pit stops, and what relevance that has?

    2. I’ll eat my hat if he goes to Ferrari…

      Seriously though, why would he? Ferrari may be the fastest right now, but they’re a worse team; and not by a small margin either. Although they’ve taken pole in the last six races, they’ve only managed to convert it into a victory twice. And the Monza win wasn’t even convincing. It raises serious doubts about the ability of the team when they struggle to win, even with the best car on the grid – and an excellent driver pairing to boot. Lewis going to Ferrari wouldn’t fix those internal issues, that prevent them from winning frequently.

      And then you also have to look at Hamilton’s career after he retires from Formula One. He has a career long association with Mercedes and, providing he sticks with them, he undoubtedly stands to make a ton of money working as an ambassador for them. Considering his lavish and expensive lifestyle, why would he give that up? It’s not as if a similar role at Ferrari would be anywhere near as profitable for him either. Ferrari cars may be more exclusive and expensive, but Mercedes as a brand make more money. A LOT more.

      At the end of the day, Lewis stands to gain nothing from joining Ferrari. He’s a smart enough bloke too, so I think he realizes all this himself. Although he’s teased fans with the whole Ferrari thing before, it never seems as if he’s actually considered it seriously.

    3. Ferrari have serious strategy and team management problems. The Merc strategy/engineer team have helped Lewis enormously – how many times has Lewis disagreed with the strategy but ended up winning because of it?

      Going to Ferrari would be going to a legendary but very dysfunctional team.

      1. You got that backwards. Hamilton saved Mercedes’strategy guys from their blunders. They actually admitted so.

        Mexico, they stopped way too early. Hamilton had to make it work and he did. Monaco, they put him on tyres good for a 50 lap stint while he has to so 66. Or remember Silverstone? He’s on the poorer strategy, still wins the race and even sets the fastest lap at the end.

        Hamilton is the one who makes Mercedes strategists look good. Even in Hungary. Hamilton would have been much safer to simply continue his last stint. Verstappen was clearly going to run out of tyres long before the end anyway. Yet they put Hamilton on the massive risk of doing a whole string of qualifying laps (while still keeping his tyres alive for the end!)

        Did you ever see Bottas doing something similar? Or Vettel or Leclerc? If they get a slightly poor pit call, they wither away.

        The problem at Ferrari is not the strategists. It’s their drivers crashing/spinning. Even if it is a slightly poor strategy call, it’s more often than not because of incorrect input from their drivers. Take Mexico, both drivers were utterly wrong.

  8. HAM will win more championships racing against Ferrari than racing with them. Why would he ever leave Mercedes?

    1. @greenflag 2018 Ferrari had the best car by a big margin. It’s that Vettel blundered away 9 races, but he could have won the WDC with over 50 points ahead of Hamilton if he simply had kept his car on the track.

      Ferrari has the fastest car again at the moment, but they had some setup issues at the start. Hamilton could probably have gotten them out of their slump a lot quicker.

      Plus Ferrari potentially have the easier task of getting the best car for 2020 since their engine alone is usually already good for pole.

      The potential is there. Ferrari just need a top driver who is able to take that team to the next level.

  9. GtisBetter (@)
    1st November 2019, 17:20

    If he wants a challenge he always could join Williams 😁

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