'I plan to be here next year' – Hamilton explains why he did 18-inch Pirelli tyre test

PORTIMAO, PORTUGAL - APRIL 29: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talks in the Drivers

Tyre testing doesn’t always provide massive hints as to what the future holds, but Lewis Hamilton says his work for Pirelli last week shows how seriously he plans on being in Formula 1 next year.

Hamilton cast doubt over his future at the start of this season when he only signed a one-year contract, admitting that he simply didn’t want to commit to anything longer at this stage of his career. But after spending a day testing the 2022 tyres at Imola, Hamilton says the motivation to do the work comes from wanting to help develop a strong product for next year and be among the drivers benefitting from it.

“Well firstly I don’t ever volunteer for test days and it’s probably one of the first ones I have volunteered for, so I immediately regretted it when I woke up in the morning on the day,” Hamilton joked. “I was like, ‘dammit!’ But no honestly, firstly it was at a really great track to test at, so I enjoyed the day and the weather was good. And I plan to be here next year and I want to help Pirelli and help lead towards them having a better product.

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“It’s something that the drivers all have wished for I think - better performance - and so it was important for me to gauge where the starting point is and what differences I can help with. So from a driver point of view we have more mechanical grip, less degradation… So I think it was a good test and obviously it was the first step with the tyres but it definitely wasn’t a bad place to start.”

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton leads Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen during the

The challenge posed by Red Bull's Verstappen is being relished by Hamilton this season

Another area Hamilton has been looking to make an impact has been with inclusivity in F1 and while he says the sporting side of the championship fight with Max Verstappen entices him to stay in the sport, it’s the wider picture that also plays a part in his future thinking.

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“Well the thing is, I’m pretty spontaneous so it could always change. I’m enjoying this battle that we’re having, it’s getting more exciting, it’s been even more of a challenge and I continue to love working with this team.

“It’s encouraging to see the steps for example my team are really making towards becoming more inclusive and more diverse. I think today they already announced one of the initiatives we already have in our organisation.

“We still have a lot of work to do as a sport. There are still many teams that have continued to stay silent, some people that so far have not particularly been held accountable and there’s still a lot of work to do within this sport. And I know that being here, I have more chance of helping change that than not so that’s something I’m looking to [do] - I don’t know how long I can stay though, so we’ll see.”


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