After driving in his 300th Formula 1 grand prix, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has hinted that he could extend his career when his Mercedes contract expires at the end of the 2023 season.
Mercedes have been “off the pace” this year, said Giles Richards in The Guardian, with Red Bull and Ferrari leading the way in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. However, 37-year-old Hamilton finished second behind race winner Max Verstappen at yesterday’s French Grand Prix and the British driver was “elated” with his “best finish of the season” so far, the paper added.
Speaking after the French GP at Circuit Paul Ricard, Hamilton said he still feels “fresh” and “there is plenty of fuel in the tank”. He added that he’s enjoying his time in the sport “more than ever”.
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Hamilton, who is level with Michael Schumacher on seven world titles, was “impressive” as he took a “strong second” in France, said the BBC’s Andrew Benson. After passing Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez at the start, the Mercedes driver “comfortably held off” the Mexican and it was his teammate George Russell who finished third to complete the podium.
That’s a lot of races…
The prospect of Hamilton extending his contract “was a talking point over the weekend”, said Matt Morlidge on Sky Sports. On Saturday Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff “egged on that narrative” as he spoke to reporters about Hamilton’s future in F1.
“We talked a few weeks ago about how long our partnership can go,” Wolff said. “The number that was discussed was five to ten years, so I think we can get to 400 [races]! Someone once said you have not just got to win the eighth [title], so why not ten?”
When asked about the possibility of 400 grands prix, Hamilton replied: “That’s a lot of races!”
Joining the ‘300 club’
At the French GP yesterday Hamilton became just the sixth driver in F1 history to start 300 races. It’s another impressive record added to his “long list of accomplishments in the sport”, said Nadim Bart-Williams on Formula1.com. He joins Kimi Räikkönen (350 starts), Fernando Alonso (345), Rubens Barrichello (322), Michael Schumacher (306) and Jenson Button (306) on the landmark tally.
Two of Hamilton’s former teammates – Alonso and Button – are also in the “300 club”, said Will Gray on GPFans.com. And having raced against many greats in his career, “it was inevitable he would be asked to name the toughest of them all”.
In terms of “pure pace and ability”, Hamilton picked out two-time world champion Alonso, who returned to F1 in 2021 with Alpine Renault. “We had some good battles,” he said. “I wish we could have more and, hopefully, he is going to continue to race so we will have more in the future.”
In numbers: Lewis Hamilton’s F1 career
- Age: 37
- Debut: at the 2007 Australian GP for McLaren (aged 22)
- Race starts: 300
- Race wins: 106
- Podiums: 187
- Pole positions: 103
- World championships: seven (2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
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