Lewis Hamilton has extended his contract with Mercedes early February this year, for only one season. That unexpected length led to all sorts of speculations, as no one knew for sure what the future held for the winning pair. Both Toto Wolff and Hamilton were adamant that the new contract allowed them some flexibility in negotiating a new one for the season ahead. Potentially. However, in F1, crazier things have happened before.
The seven times world champion and his team took part on Monday, to a Pirelli tyre test. They mounted on the W10, the 18-inch 2022 tyres to drive around the Imola circuit. It inevitably led to the question of him taking part in the 2022 F1 season. For Hamilton, the purpose of the test was helping the tyre manufacturer in having a more performant tyre, one that can have more mechanical grip and less degradation.
"I plan to be here next year and I want to help Pirelli in helping them towards having a better product,"
"The drivers have wished for a more [high] performance tyre. So it was important to see where the starting point is and what differences I can help so we have more mechanical grip, less degradation."
Asked to expand on his plans for the future, the 36-year-old asserted how challenging, but enjoyable the battle they were having in Red Bull was.
"I am pretty spontaneous so it could always change. I am enjoying this battle we are having. It is getting more exciting. It has been even more of a challenge.”
The man from Stevenage also praised Mercedes’ efforts in making their organisation a more diverse and inclusive one, as he stated he felt encouraged by the initiatives of the Brackley-based squad.
"I continue to love working with this team, and it is encouraging to see the steps my team are making to becoming more inclusive and more diverse.”
"They have announced one of the initiatives we have within our organisation and we still have a lot of work to do as a sport.”
He however lamented the fact that other teams and sport’s stakeholders were still silent regarding the diversity issue.
"There are still many teams that continue to stay silent and many people who are not particularly being held accountable and there is still a lot of work to do within this sport and I know that being here I have more of a chance of helping to change that than not."
From the sporting side of things, Hamilton was under no illusion considering Red Bull’s performance and their gap to the Milton Keynes team
"The Red Bulls are still ahead of us on performance but we have done quite a good job over the first two races and there is still a long way ahead of us."
On another hand, English football’s governing body, leagues and professional organisations plan to avoid using social media between 3pm on Friday and the end of Monday, in protest of the discrimination and abuse many professionals continue to suffer on the online platforms.
Other key organisers of UK sports have committed to joining the boycott as well, along with some media organisations who cover those various sports.
Asked about the boycott plan on Thursday ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix, seven-time world champion Hamilton said:
“I haven’t made any plans but I think for me it’s clear that racism continues to be an issue.”
“Social media platforms do need to do more in order to combat this, and so I’m fully supportive of the initiative.”
“If me also doing it helps put pressure on those platforms in order to help fight against it then for sure, I’m happy to do so.”
Hamilton reflected on the impact of the social media on his younger self, and how he had to work mentally in order to not be affected by what negatively transpired from social media platforms. He emphasized on the role of social media companies who, according to the British champion, need to do more to enhance a society free from racism.
“I was subject to abuse a long time ago at a time when I was younger, when I was reading social media like many people do, trying to engage with people,” he said.
“But there was a period of time where I had to understand that we can’t read every comment that is on there and you can’t take it personally. If you let those things get to you it can ruin your day.”
“I took a period of time where I stepped a lot back from it and generally don’t go searching for that stuff, or for validation.”
“I don’t feel like I need validation, I know I’ve got amazing support from many fans that follow me and I’m super grateful for the support I do get.”
“I do believe that social media companies need to do more. They’re able to take steps in helping create an anti-racist society, that’s what we’ve really got to be pushing toward.”
“I don’t know all the details, but I’m really proud to hear that there are so many organisations getting involved.”
“I’m not sure why F1 is not a part of that but I heard Sky is.”
“I probably will follow and support that this weekend.”