Sir Lewis Hamilton has pledged his allegiance to the Mercedes team amid speculation around Daniel Ricciardo’s future.
The seven-time champion signed with the Silver Arrows in 2013 following six years with McLaren, during which time he earned his first title in 2008.
The move looked a strange one given Mercedes’ presence in the midfield while Hamilton and Jenson Button had been winning races, but the British side fell back in 2013, while the German team moved forward.
The 37-year-old spent four years racing alongside Nico Rosberg, three of which involved tense title battles as Hamilton added two more to his tally.
World titles materialised in four consecutive years between 2017 and 2020 as the Briton equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles, and surpassed him for race wins and pole positions.
Speculation surrounded Hamilton at the end of 2020 while he was negotiating a new contract, but he eventually put pen to paper on a new deal that would see him continue until the end of next season.
At that point, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who will be replaced by Oscar Piastri next year, has been linked with his drive, but Hamilton said ahead of the Italian Grand Prix that he will not be leaving “any time soon,” before turning to the Australian and saying, “sorry buddy.”
Elaborating on his commitment going forward, Hamilton feels he still has a lot left to give both on and off the track.
“I love that we have the long partnership we have. I feel like we are embarking on a lot of really positive things, not only in the sport but outside,” added the Mercedes driver.
“And I think there’s a lot of work to accomplish together, so I want to be a part of that, I think I’ll always be with Mercedes, until the day I die.
“And I feel like I can race for quite a bit longer, so I’ll be potentially steering towards that.”
Neither Hamilton nor team-mate George Russell have won a race this season, but the performance of the W13 has progressively improved since the start of the year, so a win looks possible heading into the final seven rounds of 2022.
Russell is set to start Sunday’s race from second on the grid following engine penalties for Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz, as well as Hamilton, who starts 19th.