Voluntary 2022 tyre test shows Hamilton plans to stay in F1 next year

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Lewis Hamilton says his decision to voluntarily test Pirelli's new 2022 tyres shows he plans to be in Formula 1 next season.

Both Mercedes drivers completed a total of 236 laps across two days of running at Imola on the new 18-inch wheels which will be part of the all-new car designs for next year.

Hamilton's participation was notable for several reasons though, mostly because he is without a contract at Mercedes for 2022 currently, and there has been talk of the seven-time world champion retiring after this season.

“Well firstly I don’t ever volunteer for test days and it’s probably one of the first ones I have volunteered for, so I immediately regretted it when I woke up in the morning on the day, I was like, ‘dammit!’,” he smiled on Thursday at Portimao.

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"But no honestly, firstly it was at a really great track to test at, so I enjoyed the day and the weather was good and I plan to be here next year and so I want to help Pirelli and help lead towards them having a better product.

“It’s something that the drivers all have wished for I think - better performance - and so it was important for me to gauge where the starting point is and what differences I can help with.

"So from a driver point of view, we have more mechanical grip, less degradation… So I think it was a good test and obviously it was the first step with the tyres but it definitely wasn’t a bad place to start.”

Just as members of TeamLH felt reassured Hamilton wouldn't be calling it a day after 2021, however, he did hint it was not guaranteed he would be in F1 as a driver next year.


“Well, the thing is, I’m pretty spontaneous so it could always change," he explained. "I’m enjoying this battle that we’re having, it’s getting more exciting, it’s been even more of a challenge and I continue to love working with this team

“It’s encouraging to see the steps for example my team are really making towards becoming more inclusive and more diverse. I think today they already announced one of the initiatives we already have in our organisation.

“We still have a lot of work to do as a sport. There are still many teams that have continued to stay silent, some people that so far have not particularly been held accountable and there’s still a lot of work to do within this sport.

"And I know that being here, I have more chance of helping change that than not so that’s something I’m looking to [do] - I don’t know how long I can stay though, so we’ll see.”