Grand prix

Hamilton still has ‘plenty of fuel in the tank’ after 300 F1 races

The seven-time world champion, on his 300th F1 start, claimed a strong second place behind Max Verstappen with an impressive drive after Charles Leclerc crashed out of the lead at Paul Ricard

Earlier in the weekend, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff revealed he and Hamilton had held early discussions over the possibility of extending the 37-year-old’s current contract, which is due to expire at the end of 2023. 

Wolff said he thought Hamilton could reach the unprecedented milestone of 400 races before he retires from the sport. 

Asked about Wolff’s comments following Sunday’s grand prix, Hamilton responded: “That is a lot of races. Firstly, I want to be grateful to get to this point. 

“But I still feel fresh, and I still feel as though I have got plenty of fuel [left] in the tank. I am enjoying the process and arriving everyday and working with this group of people.

“I’m also enjoying working with the sport more than ever. We’ve got some great people leading the sport and having great conversations about the direction we’re going as a sport, so I’m enjoying it more than ever. 

“I want to get back to winning ways and that’s going to take time, but I’m sure we’ll sit down at some stage and talk about the future. 

“But again, just with our team, I always want to continue to be building. It’s one thing having races, but it’s also continuing the work that we do outside and doing more, which I think Mercedes and us can always do more, and we will.” 

Hamilton was delighted with his and Mercedes’ best result of what has been a difficult campaign so far. 

Although Hamilton’s Mercedes lacked the pace to challenge Verstappen for the win, he jumped ahead of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull with a great start and was able to hold off the Mexican in the early stages, before easing clear. 

And the Briton, who is enduring the longest win drought of his entire F1 career, remains confident that Mercedes are getting closer to a first victory of the season. 

“This is my 300th GP and I woke up incredibly grateful for all the people who have been with me,” Hamilton added. 

“For Ron Dennis and Mercedes giving me the chance when I was young. Martin Whitmarsh, Mansour Ojjeh. Toto Wolff, Niki Lauda, Ola Kallenius, Markus Schafer and Dieter Zetsche. All of these incredible people have supported me since I was 13. 

“All of my races have been powered by Mercedes and I am very proud to be up here representing them.

“We have to keep pushing and I hope we are getting a little closer. This weekend he [Max] was only 10 seconds up the road, so we are closer. 

“Keeping them [Perez] behind is tough especially with their straight line speed.

“George and I didn’t expect to be second and third, this is a huge day for me and I am taking that positivity on to Budapest.”

Asked if he is starting to enjoy the season a bit more now, Hamilton said: “100%. 

“The beginning of the year, was – not miserable, it could always be way worse – but from a driver’s perspective understanding this car was so confusing.

“To now be in a position where we’re starting to understand the car a little bit more, it’s given us much more of an enjoyable drive. 

“We still lack performance in some of those areas but we’re slowly getting there. It is about constantly just chipping away at it. 

“Unfortunately, you can’t take big leaps at the moment. But who knows? Maybe one big leap will come at some stage and we’ll be right there.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.