Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hamilton Insists He Still Has the Drive to Succeed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hamilton Insists He Still Has the Drive to Succeed

Article excerpt

Byline: Lewis Hamilton

LEWIS believes he can race beyond 2020 after declaring he wants to open the defence of his Formula One championship by obliterating the opposition in Australia next weekend.

The 33-year-old British driver is due to sign a lucrative new Mercedes contract, possibly before Sunday's season opener in Melbourne, which could earn him up to PS40million a year and solidify his position as British sport's highest earner.

Hamilton will be 35 at the expected conclusion of his next deal and, with rival Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari contract also due to expire at the end of the 2020 campaign, the Briton could be tempted by one final hurrah with a move to the famous Prancing Horse.

For now, though, Hamilton, who has emerged from his off-season break full of vigour and renewed determination, is focused on sealing championship number five and joining Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio as only the third F1 driver in history to have won the title more than four times.

He said: "It doesn't feel like the start of the final chapter and I don't feel as though I am about to embark on my last contract.

"I am not sure how I will feel in two or three years' time but I am back here in March for my 12th season and I am so excited.

"I don't know where it comes from - this feeling of just wanting to excel - but I really, really, more than anything currently in my life, want to excel next weekend.

"I want to arrive in Melbourne fit. I want to hit my target weight.

"I want to kill it through practice, get pole position and I want to win the race convincingly.

"I don't know how long this feeling is going to last when I go into a new season - but as long as I am still feeling like this I will keep going."

Hamilton saw off the challenge from Vettel to win last year's championship with two races to spare but kept a low profile over the winter following criticism he received for comments he made in an Instagram video about his young nephew wearing a princess dress. …

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