Lewis Hamilton's massive retirement statement ahead of F1 season

Pictured here, reigning F1 champion Lewis Hamilton at pre-season testing in Bahrain.
Lewis Hamilton has strongly suggested that 2021 will not be his last year in F1. Pic: Getty

Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has given an emphatic answer on whether 2021 will be his last year in the sport.

The Brit has achieved just about everything in F1 and broken pretty much every major record there is to break.

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The 36-year-old Mercedes driver has signed only a one-year contract extension, casting doubt on the intentions for 2022 of the sport's most successful driver of all time and one of its leading personalities.

Hamilton equalled the great Michael Schumacher's record of seven F1 world titles last year and also surpassed the German's record of 91 race wins.

The 36-year-old Brit now has an astonishing 95 race wins to his name and it would take a brave person betting against him cracking a century of wins in 2021.

Hamilton also goes into the new campaign as the favourite to land a record eighth F1 title.

Even if he does achieve that extraordinary feat, however, the Briton insists he won't be ready to walk away from the sport.

"In the current position I'm in, I don't feel like this is the end," the Briton said on Thursday ahead of Sunday's season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix when asked if he was thinking it could be his last year.

"We've got these (rule) changes that are happening next year which are exciting. I think this looks like it could be the most exciting season yet, we've got new teams, we've got new formats, (it's) getting closer.

"I don't feel like I'm at the end. The next eight months or so I'll find out whether I'm ready to stop or not. I don't think I will personally, but you never know."

Mercedes ace on track for century of race wins

Hamilton's Mercedes team have won the last seven drivers' and constructors' titles while the Briton is set to become the first driver to win 100 grands prix with his career tally currently on 95.

He has plenty of outside interests, however, in music and fashion and has also become a prominent campaigner for diversity and equal rights.

"I don't quit when the going gets tough," said Hamilton. "I wanted a one-year deal... I'm fully committed to this sport. I think this sport is in the best place it's been in terms of steps we are taking.

"I love what I'm doing. I've arrived more excited than I have in a long time... we're going to have a really great battle, one way or another, and that's what I've always loved."

Seen here, Lewis Hamilton gears up for the new F1 season at Bahrain testing.
Lewis Hamilton is hoping to claim his eighth world title in 2021. Pic: Getty

The 2021 season is the last before major rule changes and Mercedes are expected to face a tough task after a difficult three-day test in Bahrain with a car that appeared tricky to handle.

Rivals Red Bull, with hungry young Dutch driver Max Verstappen and experienced Mexican Sergio Perez, had a much better test and looked in good condition to mount a challenge.

"We're in the best shape we can possibly be in considering that we only had three days of testing," said Hamilton.

"There's been a huge amount of analysis, the engineers and guys back at the factory... to try and understand, churn the numbers, quantify and make improvements. I think we come here positive."

with AAP

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