Lewis Hamilton has confessed to harbouring thoughts about a switch to Ferrari – but concedes he is happy to remain with Mercedes.
The seven-time World Champion’s current contract with Mercedes runs out at the end of this year and speculation has persisted that he might choose to walk away from the sport amid the Silver Arrows’ struggles.
Although both Hamilton and Mercedes chief Toto Wolff have repeatedly issued their intent to get an extension sorted, terms on a new deal have not yet been finalised.
However, Hamilton, 38, believes he’s currently in the prime of his career and the Brit has reiterated he has no plans of retiring from F1 anytime soon.
“I don’t plan on stopping any time soon,” he told ESPN recently. “I’m not at the end of my career, I’m not in the downhill slope of my career. I’m in my prime.
“It all depends on how hard I want to work and keep myself in my prime, in terms of physical and mental capability.
“If you look at LeBron [James], if you look at Tom Brady, they have shown that it can be sustained for as long as you are dedicated enough to put the energy and time in.
“Right now, I don’t plan on changing, I only plan on adding to the drive and the motivation and to being better. I’m massively driven.”
With Mercedes again failing to produce a car capable of challenging for the title in the second year for the current set of technical rules, Hamilton has been continuously linked with a move away from the German marque.
While the Brit has opened up on possessing thoughts about a return to the McLaren side he debuted in F1 with, Hamilton also admits he has pondered about life as a Ferrari driver.
“I’d be lying if I said I’d never thought about ending my career anywhere else,” he proclaimed.
“I started at McLaren, I’d like to think I’ll always be a part of the McLaren family, I started there when I was 13 years old, so I thought about what it would look like if I was at McLaren one day.
“I thought about and watched the Ferrari drivers on the screens at the track and of course you wonder what it would be like to be in red… But then I go to my team, to Mercedes, and this is my home.
“I’m happy where I am. I haven’t signed a contract yet, but we are working on one.”
Hamilton has also discussed how strong his relationship with Wolff is and how big of a factor that plays in the 103-time race winner only wanting to drive for Mercedes.
“The relationship is very special,” he disclosed. “We have both lifted each other up, we’ve helped each other elevate as individuals, both through our careers, our business, and in how we operate in our outside lives and worlds.
“I think we have been able to really confide in each other and be open and honest. Within business and within industries it is very difficult to be open with people, because it always seems like there is someone ready to stab you in the back.
“And I think that’s the trust thing that we have that it’s never been the case. He has welcomed me into his family and welcomed my family into our team.
“When I look at other drivers who have jumped from a team after one season, I think you’ve not given anyone a chance to really show what they can do. And you can’t build a relationship in one year with such a huge organisation.
“I’ve been really fortunate to be a part of that and have that experience. So there is a lot of love here, this team has got such a winning mindset and I need to be somewhere where there is a winning mindset because that’s what I have.”