As his role as an activist appears to generate as many headlines as that of his role as a Formula One world champion, Lewis Hamilton admits that the delay in agreeing a new contract with Mercedes is because he is looking beyond pedalling a car around race tracks for the foreseeable future.
Two weeks ago the Briton said there was “no guarantee” he would be on the grid next season, and at a time there is doubt about the future of team boss, Toto Wolff also, there has been much speculation over the six – soon to be seven – time world champion’s plans and the reason for the delay in agreeing a new deal… or not.
“I believe I have the best contract that there is, in terms of how it’s structured and in terms of time management,” he told reporters in Istanbul.
“With the team that’s put around me, I think it’s been great,” he continued. “But I’m always looking to see how we can improve. How can I be more efficient and do more for the partners? How can I position myself to do more for the team?
“Naturally, I think it’s easy just to go and sign the deal and continue not having to think of what’s afterwards. However, I’m very conscious of the idea that I do want to continue with Mercedes, I would love to help them on this quest in pushing for change.
“They are taking their cars green, and electrifying more, and I want to help them on that road,” he admitted. “I would like to help them in terms of pushing for diversity, because that’s also within the organization, as with every organization out there. There is not enough of it. So there’s a lot to discuss, and a lot to go through.”
Asked about the ambiguity of his comment in Imola, and the suggestion that he might yet quit the sport, he said: “I think it’s something we’ll do, if not after the job is done, then particularly at the end of the year.
“But nothing is set in stone,” he added, further muddying the waters. “I think it’s just about talking about it. And at the moment, I don’t feel like I’m finished.
“There’s always areas to improve,” he insisted. “I love racing. I love the challenge. And I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon.”
Check out our Thursday gallery from Istanbul, here.