Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton fought off a stern challenge from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to clinch his fourth F1 world title with two races to spare. Hamilton’s current deal with Mercedes expires at the end of next season, with talks regarding an extension planned for the coming weeks.
In this clip from Motorsport.tv’s weekly programme The Flying Lap, Hamilton says: 'I think about what is ahead of me. I have spoken to those who have retired early, those who retired late and everyone says stay in as long as you can. That’s not going to happen. The seasons are getting longer and longer and you see the things I do outside, which take a lot of my energy and time.
'I’m enjoying what I’m doing now. I enjoy being with this team, I love racing and I still feel at the moment I’m driving at my best. So while the car is in this form of rules until 2021 at least, I think that’s going to be the window I’m still here. Who knows? Maybe in 2021 I’ll hand the baton over to [Mercedes junior] George [Russell]. He’ll be there anyway before then. But yeah, I’m going to keep going.'
When it was suggested to him that he could have had six F1 titles by this stage had scenarios played out differently, Hamilton replied: 'Yes. I’m grateful I don’t have six because I’m still hungry, I’m still enjoying racing. I wouldn’t be the champion I am today if I didn’t have those experiences.'
Hamilton’s triumph moved him into an elite group of drivers who have won four F1 titles or more, along with Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Juan Manuel Fangio and Alain Prost. But Hamilton, who made his F1 debut in 2007, says he is not thinking about matching the record seven titles Schumacher achieved. 'This is crazy, people around me are now saying "you’ve got to get eight",' he says. '[I say] "I’ve only just got four". It’s one step at the time.'