Hamilton wants to win in Brazil with sights on future glory

Lewis Hamilton believes he can come back stronger than ever next year and is already putting together a winter programme to launch his bid for a record eighth Formula One world championship.

Published : Nov 02, 2023 10:18 IST , SAO PAULO - 5 MINS READ

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. | Photo Credit: AMANDA PEROBELLI

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. | Photo Credit: AMANDA PEROBELLI

Lewis Hamilton believes he can come back stronger than ever next year and is already putting together a winter programme to launch his bid for a record eighth Formula One world championship.

First, however, the Mercedes driver hopes to get back on top of the podium in Brazil this weekend, the last sprint event of the season.

Last year he finished second in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos to team mate George Russell in what remains Mercedes’ last win.

“We had a one-two but I plan to do better this weekend,” Hamilton told Reuters at an event organised by team sponsor Petronas.

The 38-year-old great, the most successful driver in the sport’s history with 103 wins, has not triumphed since 2021 but he remained optimistic about the future.

“Right now I’m already thinking about my winter. I’m already setting up my training camp,” he said.

“It’s not just training, it’s recovery, it’s meditation, it’s cleansing the body, going through all these processes and dedicating time for that and also spending time with family and re-energising.

“I’m having that stuff planned so I can come back in the next season stronger than ever.

“With all this experience I have, I think I should be able to do a better job each year. And I’m trying to get that championship,” he added.

Interlagos, and Brazil, hold a special place in Hamilton’s heart as home to boyhood idol Ayrton Senna and a country that has welcomed him with honorary citizenship and brought him plenty of local fans.

He said his 2021 win there, in which he did a victory lap with the Brazilian flag, ranked as one of the most emotional of his career.

“I love this track. It’s just such a cool track. There’s something so special about Brazil, there’s the energy here, it’s the people, the culture, the language which I need to learn,” he explained.

“It just makes the whole place so special. That for me just energises me.”

Hamilton has finished the last two races second on track, although he was disqualified from the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin when the car failed post-race checks, and has looked increasingly comfortable in the car.

Red Bull have been dominant, with Max Verstappen now a triple champion, but Hamilton was optimistic the team could close the gap.

Mike Elliott, whose departure as Mercedes’ chief technical officer was announced on Tuesday, will not be with them but Hamilton said his contribution would not be forgotten.

“I met Mike when I was at McLaren and we worked together a long time. I’ve always had such a great relationship with Mike and really admire him. He’s such a bright guy,” said the Briton.

“We’ve had such great conversations, I’ve learnt so much from him about aerodynamics for example. He’s been an integral part of my team.

“His contract was coming to an end and he’s taken the decision to move on. You have to try not to look at it negatively, you have to want to wish the best for people,” added the Briton.

“I hope that we will continue to have our relationship that we always have. You can’t throw away all those great years together. I’m massively appreciative to him because he’s been a part of the success that we’ve had over these years.”

Hamilton ‘incredibly proud’ of Vinicius after Socrates Award

Lewis Hamilton said he felt “incredibly proud” to see Real Madrid winger Vinicius Junior receive this year’s Socrates Award at the Ballon d’Or ceremony and vowed to continue speaking out against racism.

Brazilian Vinicius, who has been racially abused in La Liga games in the last two seasons, was recognised for starting a foundation that is building schools in impoverished areas and investing in education in his home country.

“It’s really remarkable to see people out there who are facing such challenges and are just being brave in the face of it,” Hamilton told Reuters ahead of this weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

The 38-year-old Briton, the sport’s only Black driver, had previously showed support for Vinicius when he received racial slurs from fans in a game at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium this year, calling the episode “devastating”.

Knighted by his own country, Hamilton was also granted honorary Brazilian citizenship last year and met the 23-year-old forward at this year’s Italian Grand Prix.

“It was a real honour to meet him, he brought such great energy to the team,” said the Mercedes driver, known for his social activism including his defense of minority groups and environmental causes.

Vinicius, the only Brazilian in the top 10 in the nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or, said he would remain strong in the fight against racism as he accepted the Socrates Award from the Prince of Monaco on Monday.

The Vini Jr. Institute, created in 2020, aims to use the popularity of soccer to help innovations in teaching and learning in Brazilian public schools.

It hopes up to 15 schools and 10,000 students will benefit by the end of 2023.

Hamilton praised the football star for leading by example.

“I’m so grateful that he’s been acknowledged and well received,” the Briton said.

“And to win that reward not only for being a great athlete but for being a great spokesperson for people and for the culture, I think it is very honourable.”

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