Lewis Hamilton believes he can race on until he is 40 after rejecting his own suggestion that he could stun Formula One by retiring at the end of the season.
In an interview published on the eve of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Hamilton, who trails championship leader Sebastian Vettel by 12 points, hinted he may turn his back on motor racing and follow his long-term rival Nico Rosberg into retirement.
Hamilton, 32, has lofty ambitions of harbouring a music career. He also revealed his bucket list in which he hopes to scale Mount Everest, become a better chef, and learn another language.
But it would appear as though the French lessons will have to wait. Formula One, it seems, will forever be Hamilton’s mother tongue.
“I could easily do another three-year contract if I wanted to and I reckon I could go on for another one after that,” said Hamilton, whose £30m-a-year-deal with Mercedes expires next season.
“People ask me what’s motivating you? I still want more. I still want two championships. I always wanted to emulate Senna, but then you set your sights on new goals, new challenges and new horizons so that’s really the discovery phase.
“When I think about (Juan Manuel) Fangio, five titles sounds pretty good. Vettel’s only one away from five so if I get to five he could easily equal that, and then I’ve got to get six. The human race is a greedy kind, and we always want more.
For me, it’s not like I want more, but I feel like I have more potential, and I feel like it’s a constant journey to discover just what that potential is. There’s no real limit to what we can achieve. The limit is a state of mind.”
Hamilton finished only 10th in second practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as Fernando Alonso succumbed to further engine woes.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen topped the order while Vettel finished fifth in the session in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku.
Hamilton’s time — he finished 1.1 seconds adrift of Verstappen and one second slower than his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas — is slightly skewed because the triple world champion did not post a lap on the super-soft tyre, the quickest of the three Pirelli compounds available this weekend, after Jolyon Palmer crashed into the wall at turn eight.
Alonso’s Honda engine conked out with 30 minutes remaining. McLaren are the only team yet to score a point this season and their relationship with Honda is now at an all-time low.
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