As Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton streak away towards their respective sixth Formula One world championships, the 2019 season at the front has largely been a tale of contrasting fortunes for rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.
Lewis Hamilton has said that he has no plans to retire from Formula 1 and is determined to stay for as long as he can.
“I’ve got to keep going for as long as I can basically – until I’m not enjoying it,’ said the Mercedes driver.
The five-time world champion was talking to David Letterman on his Netflix talk show ‘My Next Guest Needs No Introduction’ where he talked about his future plans within Formula 1, his determination to win and the mental difficulties he faces in the sport.
“I am ridiculously determined to win,” he said. “What really drives me, and I feel that the people I race against may lack somewhat, is that fire. I’ve got this opportunity. I could easily let go of it right now but I feel like I would be squandering it if I didn’t continue to improve, grow and push.”
Hamilton has won four of the first six races this year and is leading the championship by 17 points, ahead of Mercedes teammate Valterri Bottas, but with 77 victories to his name is still 14 shy of Michael Schumacher’s record 91 Grand Prix wins.
But that doesn’t mean that Hamilton doesn’t have the record in his sights, and still believes he can surpass Schumacher’s record. “Michael retired when he was 38. I’m 33. I can definitely do five years. I’ve got to keep going for as long as I can basically – until I’m not enjoying it.”
The reigning champion was unusually candid about the mental challenges he faces at the top level of the sport. “It’s something I’ve never really spoken about but you often do suffer from mental issues – instabilities – and keeping yourself together when you hit rock bottom, which you do as an athlete.”
“It’s a hard, hard year,” he said. “Mentally you have these massive highs, wins and success, but then you have these massive comedowns.
“If you’re lucky you can find strength at rock bottom. It’s about how you get up, not how you fall.”
Hamilton’s next race is the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which will be held this Sunday 9th June. He’s won this round six times out of the past 11, and a seventh win would see him equal Schumacher’s current record with most wins on this track.