Lewis Hamilton explained why he is now ready to race into his 40s after signing a two-year contract extension with Mercedes until the end of the 2025 Formula 1 season.
Ahead of the 2023 Italian Grand Prix, Mercedes announced Hamilton and George Russell are both staying until F1’s next big regulations change, as Hamilton will be nearly 41 when his contract ends.
Hamilton had previously said he doesn’t want to race into his fifth decade, but cited ‘unfinished business’ when explaining why he wants to stay with Mercedes.
“I definitely didn’t think I’d be at the age I am and feel the way that I do physically and mentally and still love what I’m doing as much as I do,” Hamilton told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com. “I love that feeling when you have the lows together and when you have the highs together.”
Hamilton had previously hinted that he wanted to retire before he was 40, which would mean 2024 would be his last season in the sport.
In the midst of the 2021 title fight, aged 36, Hamilton admitted he was pushing himself further than he’d previously expected but still expected to only race three more years in the sport.
“I honestly hope I’m not racing at 40,” Hamilton told Corriere della Sera in 2021. “There are so many things I want to do that it would be difficult.
“But in life the evolution is so fast that it can surprise you. For example, I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I am having this season.”
Alonso and Brady inspiration
Hamilton added he spoke to NFL legend Tom Brady about how to continue a successful sporting career into his 40s.
Brady won two Super Bowls after turning 40 in August 2017 – including his last aged a staggering 43 – won four of his seven championships after his 37th birthday.
And Hamilton also added Pete Bonnington will continue as his race engineer until the end of this contract.
“I look at people like Brady, who’s such an incredible athlete,” Hamilton added. “He’s shown what can be done today so he’s the real role model for all athletes. “And it’s great seeing Fernando who he was here before, way before I was and obviously took that retirement and came back and is doing an amazing job.
“It just shows that your talent never really leaves you, as long as you have that passion, that passion and that commitment you can continue and that’s something I’m incredibly grateful for.
“I think a lot of people stay in that same job and roles for a long period of time and fall out of love with it, but just keep going because maybe it’s the only thing they can do.
“But I genuinely still have that love for F1, I still love getting in the car, I still love racing with my peers and I still love working alongside Bono and all the guys in the garage and the team like chasing that common goal and dream.”