Sir Lewis Hamilton had an amusing reaction when he found out how long Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he wanted to continue working together.
The seven-time champion had to endure a tough start to the season after the heartbreak of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year, where he was controversially beaten to the title by Max Verstappen.
The Briton came back to a Mercedes car that looked very different due to the new technical regulations, and the Silver Arrows were adventurous with their design.
They all but removed the sidepods from the car, leading to a new cooling philosophy, as well as, if they got it right, aerodynamic gains.
Indeed, the concept had been tried out by Haas the year before while they were preparing for the new rules, but they did not believe it would work.
Mercedes have not won a race yet this season, but have achieved 11 podium finishes between Hamilton and team-mate George Russell.
The pair have both stood on the podium in each of the last two, so things are starting to come together after a horrible start to the season.
The car was slow and uncomfortable, and it even became a safety concern as the vigorous contact with the track surface continued to prove harmful physically.
The drivers have been positive throughout though, which is one of the reasons they have been able to make gains on Ferrari and Red Bull who, between them, have won all of the first 13 races of the season.
Wolff suggested that he believes Hamilton one day reach “400 races,” leading to an amusing wide-eyed reaction from the seven-time champion.
“That’s a lot of races! I firstly just want to be grateful to get to this point,” explained Hamilton.
“But I still feel fresh and still feel like I’ve got plenty of fuel left in the tank, so I’m enjoying what I’m doing.
“I’m… really, really proud and enjoying arriving every day and working with this incredible group of people. I’m also enjoying working with the sport more than ever.
“We’ve got some great people leading the sport and having great conversations about the direction we’re going as a sport, so I’m enjoying it more than ever.
“I would say in that space, of course, I want to get back to winning ways and that’s going to take time, but I’m sure we’ll sit down at some stage and talk about the future.
“But again, just with our team, I always want to continue to be building.
“It’s one thing having races, but it’s also continuing the work that we do outside and doing more; I think Mercedes and us can always do more, and we will.”
Hamilton has stood on the podium in all of the last five races, and he and Russell have now closed the gap to Ferrari to just 30 points in the battle for second in the Constructors’ Standings.