Mercedes star Hamilton plans “biggest triumph”
Nobody won more often, only Michael Schumacher became world champion seven times. But Lewis Hamilton remains hungry. Even when he’s over 40, he will still be racing in Formula 1. What else can he achieve?
Lewis Hamilton is no longer annoyed about the next missed title opportunity. Even before long-term rival Max Verstappen won his third World Cup trophy on Saturday Formula 1 one after the other, the record world champion is thinking about the next season.
“They are ahead and it is very likely that they started developing the car for the coming year months before anyone else,” said the Mercedes star about the old and new world constructor champion Red Bull. The Brit wants to be discouraged not. But can he really take the most important record away from Michael Schumacher?
The two exceptional drivers have won seven world championship titles, Hamilton would only be happy to take number eight. In 2021 he narrowly failed in the duel with Verstappen, after which it became clearer. Hamilton will still be in the cockpit of the Silver Arrows at the age of 40 and has just extended his contract for two more seasons. “We will come back. We can do it. The next step to the top podium will come. And it will probably be my greatest triumph in my career,” Hamilton told the Swiss “Blick”.
Hamilton is running out of time
After some very bitter months, Mercedes is working to build a strong car again. From 2014 to 2020 there were title after title for the German factory team, and rule changes also ensured that Red Bull overtook them. Verstappen’s racing team is the measure of all things, most recently in Japan the soon-to-be three-time world champion shocked the competition. “We were just a second away. Closing that gap next year when it’s still a second at this point on a track like this is definitely worrying for us as a team,” said the 38-year-old. But somehow it is also an incentive.
However, Hamilton is running out of time. Without the perfect car, it will be impossible to intervene in the title fight until 2025. Especially since another competitor is lurking in your own garage. His British compatriot George Russell doesn’t want the role of number two, he is the next star of Mercedes. Most recently in Japan there was almost a crash between the hard-fighting teammates, but it’s not as heated as in 2016. At that time, things escalated between Hamilton and former stable rival Nico Rosberg, who later became world champion.
“Are we fighting against each other or against the others?” Russell asked on the radio. The 25-year-old seemed irritated and thought the team leadership was on the old master’s side. And he’s already back in attack mode. This has brought Hamilton 103 Grand Prix victories in 16 years. Nobody else has achieved that, and nobody else has been in first place on the grid so often. The fact that Hamilton hasn’t won in 38 races is what annoys him the most. Although the current car with the name W14 is being further technically improved in Qatar, the focus is increasingly on the W15 for 2024.
Despite Verstappen’s successes, for whom a sixth place in the sprint in the desert north of Doha on Saturday (7.30 p.m./Sky) was enough to successfully defend his title, Hamilton is the face of Formula 1. A world star with a lot of influence, a fortune of at least 300 million euros and a special compass of values. He eats a purely plant-based diet, is committed to animal protection and to more diversity, not just in motorsport. “Especially the not so privileged children should not have fewer opportunities than those with a rich background. I’m working on that and hope that I can change some things,” he said.
Hamilton: “I want to do my job 100 percent”
Hamilton himself comes from humble beginnings. His father had several jobs to enable him to enjoy expensive go-karting as a child. He sat behind the wheel for the first time at the age of four, and was already the only black person in the junior series – and is still the same in Formula 1 today. He was often confronted with racism, especially in his youth, and therefore often expresses himself clearly in such situations .
In 2021 he caused a stir when he won the last race to date in Qatar with a specially designed rainbow helmet. It was his symbol of diversity in a country with major human rights problems, where not only minorities struggle with oppression. A repeat of the sporting success on the course north of Doha on Sunday (7 p.m./Sky) seems rather unlikely, but at least points should be scored in the Gulf Emirate in order for Mercedes to defend second place in the team world championship from Ferrari.
“I want to do my job 100 percent,” Hamilton recently told “Blick” and also gave a rare glimpse into his private life. “No. I don’t have time for that,” he answered when asked whether he would like to have children of his own in the near future: “I haven’t decided on this big step yet. I still have goals with the racing car – and everything has to be there stand in the back.”