Four-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has dismissed suggestions that he could match Michael Schumacher’s haul of seven titles by the end of his new contract with Mercedes, calling such a lofty target ‘unthinkable’.
Hamilton’s new commitment with the Silver Arrows takes him through until the conclusion of the 2020 calendar, meaning he would match Schumacher’s record if he won the championship in each of the seasons covered by his new deal.
The Brit has won three titles with the German team since joining in 2013, having claimed the 2014, 2015 and 2017 crowns, as well as coming runner up to Nico Rosberg in 2016.
With recent history on his side, is it really a flight of fancy to believe that Hamilton could draw level at the earliest opportunity?
The man himself appears to think so.
“It doesn’t make sense to believe you’re going to win every single championship from now to the end of the contract,” he told Sky Sports.
“Whilst that is the goal and that’s the dream, perfect scenario, nothing ever goes perfectly generally.
“So I didn’t set out in the two years saying that gives me the time to do that. I’m going to work towards it.
Despite no evident waning in the former McLaren man’s ability or desire to win everytime he steps into his car, it is a hugely difficult ask for any one driver to achieve the consistency needed to win year after year.
And with fellow four-time F1 champ Sebastian Vettel a constant menace in his Ferrari (Vettel currently commands an 8-point lead over his rival in the driver’s standings) Hamilton is guaranteed to never have things completely his own way.
And Vettel, of course, is not the only one keeping the champion on his toes.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Botas, the Red Bull pairing of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo and Vettel’s Ferrari colleague, Kimi Raikkonen, will all be champing at the bit to spoil Hamilton’s dreams of pulling alongside Schumacher.
With 11 full seasons of racing already under his belt, some may expect this current deal with Mercedes to be his last.
Addressing his future in F1, Hamilton added: “It’s impossible to say what I’m going to feel like in two years time. What I can tell you is I still feel pretty great and I wasn’t expecting to be as excited as I am now in signing to extend.
“I’m also very conscious of how long it is beyond retirement. There are so many great reasons to remain a part of the sport but, who knows, maybe in two years time my life will be completely different and I will want completely different things to I want to know. Time will tell.”