“I love altitude training, there is less oxygen high up, so working out is much harder than at sea level, just walking up the stairs, you feel it at 2000 [meters]. Normally when I finish training here and return to sea level, running is such a breeze. I’m trying to find the right balance in cardio and strength building. On top of that, lots of work ongoing in the background.”
It’s not the first time Hamilton has shown his love for the mountains. In 2013, Hamilton said that he planned on climbing Mt. Everest at some point after he retires from racing.
“I plan to climb a lot of mountains over the next five to 10 years, and eventually the big one at the end, at some stage,” said Hamilton, per the Independent. “As for Everest, it’s just something I’d like to do, but I’m going to do it for charity.”
Coming off of a brilliant season in which he won 11 of 17 races, Hamilton still has some great driving left in him before he retires his helmet in favor of hiking boots. But when the time comes, it’s clear that Hamilton will be ready for the summit.
What’s going on with Lewis Hamilton’s new Mercedes contract?
This is the time of year when Formula 1 drivers are ramping up their winter training, readying themselves for another assault on the world championship. Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton is doing just that right now. The only difference for him, though, is that the Mercedes driver is doing so without a contract for the 2021 campaign in his back pocket…
Is there a chance Hamilton won’t be in Formula 1 this year?
No. The Briton made it seven world titles last year and has his eyes set on a record eighth this season. The recently knighted racing driver has no intention of hanging up his gloves and helmet just yet. The fact he is training hard right now – climbing a mountain every day as he said on social media – proves he’s gearing up for the season.
So why hasn’t he signed the contract yet?
It’s a good question, without a clear answer. Both Mercedes and Hamilton have consistently insisted they want to continue their standard-setting partnership beyond the end of last year, it’s just been a matter of finding time to sit down and get it done.
Why haven’t they had time to sort something so important?
First off, it’s not clear what stage of negotiations they have reached. It may well have been agreed but not announced. Equally, it may not have been agreed and there’s work to be done. What’s certainly true is that the Covid-19 pandemic made getting together face-to-face more difficult for Hamilton and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. If life was normal, there’d have been plenty of scope to get together in Wolff’s kitchen to thrash out a deal, as they did before. But that wasn’t feasible.
With the championship reaching the sharp end, both decided to put discussions on the backburner until after the season. There was no stress because both knew it was just a matter of when, not if, they would come to an agreement.
But then Hamilton tested positive for Covid-19…
Indeed. Hamilton missed the Sakhir Grand Prix as a result, but returned for the season finale in Abu Dhabi. Finishing third was an impressive result given the physical challenge of racing when still recovering from the virus.
The priority then was to have a break. Not only was 2020 a relentless season, with 17 races in 24 weekends, but Hamilton needed to battle back from Covid. So meaningful talks were shifted back again.
Is it unusual for the reigning world champion to enter his title defence year without a contract?
Yes, but similar things have happened before. McLaren went into the 1993 campaign still negotiating with star driver Ayrton Senna over his contract. And again, it’s worth noting that neither Hamilton nor Mercedes seem to be too concerned about the situation at this point.
Hamilton has started focusing on his training, to ensure he’s got this important block in, and on Tuesday said he was doing good and felt healthy and mentally strong.
Once training ends, attention turns to racing preparations, with time in the factory to work on the 2021 project and then getting the chance to test the new machine in a shakedown before pre-season testing itself in Bahrain.
It is likely Hamilton and Wolff finally hammer out all the details during this window.
What are the sticking points that might be holding it up?
Formula 1 teams never talk about the contents of a contract but often the delay in signing on the dotted line is down to the fine details.
Both driver and team have got to agree on the length of contract, which works for both sides. It’s likely both will want a deal for at least two years. One side might want longer, the other might want to keep their options open, so nailing that down is a hurdle.
Then there’s the overall fee a driver is paid per campaign – and what is required from said driver. Aside from driving the car, there will be demands on their time, such as a set number of appearances for the media and partners per year.
And many drivers, like Hamilton, will want permission to do projects away from the track, such as his fashion line, so that’ll need to be factored in.
So now what?
We wait. When Mercedes and Hamilton have time, they will sit down, get it signed, and then announce. Only then will the 2021 grid be complete.
WHO IS LEWIS HAMILTON
Sir Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton British racing driver, activist, fashion designer and musician. He most recently competed in Formula One for Mercedes in 2020, having previously driven for McLaren from 2007 to 2012. In Formula One, Hamilton has won a joint-record seven World Drivers’ Championship titles (tied with Michael Schumacher), while he holds the outright records for the most wins (95), pole positions (98) and podium finishes (165), amongst others.(born 7 January 1985) is a
Born and raised in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, Hamilton was signed to the McLaren young driver programme in 1998. This later resulted in a Formula One drive with McLaren in 2007, making Hamilton the first black driver to race in the sport. That season, Hamilton set numerous records as he finished runner-up to Kimi Räikkönen by one point. The following season, he won his maiden title in dramatic fashion—making a crucial overtake on the last corner of the last lap in the last race of the season—to become the then-youngest Formula One World Champion in history. After four more years with McLaren, Hamilton signed with Mercedes in 2013.
Changes to the regulations for 2014 mandating the use of turbo-hybrid engines came at the start of a highly successful period for Hamilton, during which he has won six further drivers’ titles. Hamilton won consecutive titles in 2014 and 2015 during an intense rivalry with teammate Nico Rosberg to match his hero Ayrton Senna‘s three World Championships. Following Rosberg’s retirement, Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel became Hamilton’s closest rival in two intense championship battles, and Hamilton twice overturned mid-season points deficits to claim consecutive titles again in 2017 and 2018. Hamilton won his third and fourth titles in a row in 2019 and 2020, respectively, equalling Schumacher’s record of seven drivers’ titles.
Hamilton has been credited with furthering Formula One’s global following by appealing to a broader audience outside the sport, in part due to his high-profile lifestyle, environmental and social activism and his exploits in music and fashion. He has become a prominent advocate in support of activism to combat racism and push for increased diversity in motorsport. Hamilton was listed in the 2020 issue of Time as one of the 100 most influential people globally and was knighted in the 2021 New Year Honours.