Lewis Hamilton says he will “definitely” sign a new contract with Mercedes to keep racing in Formula 1 beyond 2023.
Team boss Toto Wolff made a similar claim recently, suggesting that the 37-year-old seven time world champion is capable of racing well into his early 40s.
“The time has come again when I think about how to proceed,” Hamilton said in Mexico, according to the German publication Auto Motor und Sport.
“You analyse the past year and try to imagine what the next three to five years might look like. Where do I see myself? What do I want to do? What are my goals?
“Outside of the sport, I am in many businesses with a good chance of success. But I want to keep racing too,” said the British driver.
“I love what I do. I’ve been doing it for 30 years and I’ve never felt the need to stop. I want to do even better. That’s why I plan to be there for a longer time.”
Hamilton said he gets along well with quadruple world champi on Sebastian Vettel, who at the age of 35 has decided to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the year.
“Seb and I are just on a different path in life,” he insisted.
“Will I still drive past 40? Maybe. But Mercedes and I will definitely extend the contract. We will sit down in the next two months.”
With George Russell now fully established in the second Mercedes, Hamilton’s news might be seen as a blow to Daniel Ricciardo.
Some think the only reason the 33-year-old Australian is even contemplating taking a reserve seat at Mercedes next year is in the hope that Hamilton might retire after that.
Ricciardo denied that on Thursday.
“The truth is I want Lewis to stay in the sport,” he said in Mexico.
“He’s one of the greatest ever to do it and I think competing with him, going wheel to wheel with him is fun. It’s normally at the pointy end so I certainly wish to do that more in the future.
“So I don’t think my future is relative to what others do. I think it’s just – how do I say it – the opportunities will arise when they do, but I’m not banking on anyone doing something so I can find my way,” Ricciardo added.