Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton intends to stay in Formula 1 beyond 2020 and was waiting on his boss – Toto Wolff – to agree a deal, at the same time the World Champion praised Ron Dennis the man who helped make it happen for the kid from Stevenage.
Speaking ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, Hamilton revealed he had received text messages from 2007 McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso and former McLaren boss Dennis after Austin.
“Seeing Ron’s text really touched me inside. He saw something in me that no one else did except for my Dad. He gave me an opportunity to showcase my abilities and to learn and to grow.
“Without him, I most likely wouldn’t have made it to F1,” added the Briton, who first met Dennis as a 10-year-old go-karter.
At the time, the youngster boldly told Dennis that his dream was to drive and win races for McLaren. The rest is well-documented history.
Statistics show that Hamilton spent six F1 seasons at McLaren, made 110 starts for them, finished 49 times on the podium, 21 times as a winner. In 2008 he won his first of six titles in the colours of the Woking outfit.
At Interlagos yesterday, Hamilton also gave insight into his contract negotiations with his teamand explained that he was “kind of joined at the hip” to the Silver Arrows after seven years together in the works team.
He has only raced with Mercedes-power since he made his F1 debut in 2007 and, prior to that, during his junior career the German auto giant also played a significant role in backing their charge.
In the near future, there could also be change at the helm of F1 post-2020, namely the successor to Chase Carey, and Wolff is someone who could play such a role.
“I know that being stuck in any position for too long can also not always be a positive so I always want people to spread their wings and do what’s best for their careers,” said Hamilton.
“I don’t know what that is for him, only he will know,” added the Briton, who said Wolf has been “the perfect match” for him and Mercedes.
“Naturally I don’t want him to leave, particularly if I’m staying in the sport. It is important to me and I am waiting also to see where his head is at.”
Wolff is not in Brazil for Sunday’s penultimate race of the season, with Mercedes having already won both titles for an unprecedented sixth year in succession.
Hamilton clinched his sixth championship in Texas this month and will be aiming to equal Michael Schumacher’s record seven next year when he will be 35-years-old.
The Briton’s last contract negotiations were protracted and fans still speculate on whether he might end his career at Ferrari, “I’ve obviously considered the next couple of years.
“I know that I want to continue racing, I love what I’m doing. I see no reason for me to stop any time soon. It’s almost like I only just did this contract and I’ve already got to start talking about the potential of the next one.
“It’s another stressful moment where you have to… get into the ring and have a friendly yet intense conversation about terms and all those kind of things. But I’m used to it and like to think I’m a relatively good negotiator,” explained Hamilton.