Mercedes announced last Saturday that Hamilton had signed a new two-year contract, ensuring he would stay with the team at least until the end of the 2023 season.

Hamilton’s long-term future in F1 had been the subject of speculation after only signing a one-year extension with Mercedes in February to cover the 2021 season. But the British driver has always made it clear that his future au- beyond this year would not depend on any success on the track as he set out in search of a record eighth world title.

Hamilton faced his biggest challenge for an F1 title in more than five seasons so far this year against Verstappen, who leads the drivers’ standings by 32 points after winning the last three races.

Speaking after the announcement of his new contract, Hamilton explained how much he enjoyed the fight against Red Bull and Verstappen, and how his passion to keep running had not waned at all.

“At the start of this season, when the cars were so close in performance, roughly even, then it was really one of the most exciting times I’ve had in a while, being able to have this battle for Red Bull, ”Hamilton said. “Honestly, I was really hoping it would continue like this for the rest of the year, but as you’ve seen, they’ve taken a huge leap forward.

“We’re always at different times in our lives, and it’s important that we take the time to assess. It is important that we do what is right for us in terms of health and mental well-being. It’s always a good time to try to think it over and see what comes next. I found myself waking up thinking about running. So I wanted to keep running.

“And now we’re having this close battle, yes it brought me closer to the team, it brought me closer to the engineers. It makes me dig deeper, and I love it.

“I guess it has reinvigorated the love I have for the sport and the love for what I do.”

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Hamilton has been the primary voice for F1 in the series’ recent efforts to improve diversity and inclusion, and remains strongly engaged with his leadership on plans for the future to help more people from underwater backgrounds. -represented to enter the industry.

Hamilton said he remains keen to “be a part of the evolution of the sport and be as good as possible”, and also paid tribute to Mercedes for his support in implementing lasting change. .

“It’s amazing what Mercedes is doing, the support they’ve given me throughout this time with BLM, turning the whole car black for the second year in a row, to really push for a more environment. diverse and inclusive, ”says Hamilton. “It’s amazing the conversations we had. It’s an amazing new part of the journey that we have started.

“For sure, several years ago, I could only dream of being in this position. I’m excited for what this can be.

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