Lewis Hamilton says he has been inspired by Tom Brady’s longevity after committing to race in Formula 1 into his 40s, but insists 2021 is not a motivation factor despite acknowledging having “unfinished business.”
Mercedes has extended the contracts of both Hamilton and teammate George Russell until the end of the 2025 season, a deal that will see the seven-time world champion racing until just short of his 41st birthday. While Fernando Alonso is currently third in the drivers’ standings at the age of 42, Hamilton says it’s seven-time Super Bowl winner Brady — who played in the NFL until he was 45 — who stands out to him.
“I think I look at people like Tom Brady, who is such an incredible athlete and has shown what can be done today, so he’s the real role model in that respect for all athletes to look at,” said Hamilton, pictured above meeting with Brady at the Canadian Grand Prix in 2016. “I’m really, really fortunate to speak to him to understand as well what he’s done and what he does consistently to keep himself in shape, and he has expressed it in the media anyway.
“Of course, it’s great to see Fernando. He was here way before I was and took that retirement and came back, and is doing an amazing job. It just shows that that talent never really leaves you as long as you have that passion and that commitment, you can continue.”
The new contract comes with Hamilton targeting an eighth world title that he believes Mercedes can deliver, but he says the controversial end to the 2021 season — when Max Verstappen overtook him to win the title on the final lap after a late safety car restart that didn’t follow the intention of the regulations — is not something that plays a role in his motivation.
“I couldn’t be happier to be extending with this team. We have had such an incredible journey together. Mercedes have supported me since I was 13, so such a long trip and we still have unfinished business. We are in this together. We have a lot of work to do to get ourselves back to the front but there is no place I would rather be.
“On the 2021 thing, I’m not really a revenge person and it’s not about revenge. It’s not about redemption. That’s in the past and there is nothing you can do about the past. What we can do is work harder, be more precise and be better moving forwards. I truly believe with this team we can win more championships together and more races. That’s where all my energy is coming from.”
There’s also a hint that this will not be Hamilton’s final contract in F1, as he says he accepts it could take some time to close the gap to Red Bull.
“Contract-wise, we got it done — the stuff was finished last weekend. I’m not working towards next year thinking it will take another four years to get where we need to be, but I’m aware that it does take time.
“In my heart, I’m so hopeful that the decisions we are taking and the direction that we are rowing towards will put us in that target zone to fight the Red Bulls and be close, and be challenging for pole. But if it’s not next year, we will continue to work through it. But my heart truly believes even if it is not next year or the year after, we will be there.”