Lewis Hamilton confirmed on Thursday that talks about a new contract with Mercedes had proceeded beyond salary and duration and were now focused on fine details.
Speaking at Silverstone ahead of his home British Grand Prix, a race he has won a record eight times, the seven-time world champion reiterated his confidence in the ‘Silver Arrows’ and his belief that they can catch and overhaul Red Bull.
He also confirmed he would support any peaceful protest by climate activists and felt thrilled to see filming begin of the Hollywood movie about Formula One during the weekend at the circuit.
Asked during a mandatory pre-event news conference if recent positive comments about their talks by Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff were true, Hamilton said: “Yes, that’s correct.”
He added that a terse radio exchange between them, when Hamilton grumbled about his car’s lack of performance during last Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, was typical of the open and honest nature of their relationship.
“The best thing about our partnership is that we can be direct with each other,” he said. “Toto is just an out-and-out racer so he was trying to encourage me and that was his way of doing it.
“We always learn from our last races, plus — on my side — I’ve reviewed my comments and where I was at mentally and we’ll make sure I adjust that for the future and I feel supported.”
100% faith in team
Hamilton added that he had been involved in meetings this week to improve this year’s car and a more competitive one next year.
“I’m thinking that before the end of this season, we’ll already be well into the contract,” he said, indicating his confidence in the team for the future.
“I still have 100 percent faith in this team. It has taken longer for all of us to get to where we want to be and it’s definitely not easy, but I believe that we will get there.
“We’ve just got to continue to work and chip away at it and that’s what we’re trying to do. So that’s why we’ve got the upgrade here for the front wing this weekend.”
The 38-year-old Briton also told reporters that he would support a protest by Just Stop Oil activists providing it did not involved people invading the track.
“Yes, I support peaceful protests,” he said.
Five protesters created chaos last year when they stormed the Wellington Straight and sat down, during the opening lap, but the race had been suspended and a tragedy was averted.
Race organisers at Silverstone have worked to improve security ahead of this year’s event which is expected to be attended by a record 480,000 spectators, including 150,000 on Sunday’s race day, bringing in 100 more marshals.
Brad in the pits
Hamilton also expressed his enthusiasm about an as yet untitled F1 movie, being produced by Apple Original Films, which begins filming at Silverstone this weekend during the British Grand Prix.
“It’s massively exciting to see it all coming together,” said Hamilton. “To know that we’re finally starting to film this weekend! There’s nerves, naturally, because it’s something we’ve been working on for so long.”
Images of an additional, fictional 11th team, APXGP, and their car have been offered to fans. “We want everyone to love it and to really feel that we encapsulate what the essence of this sport is all about – that’s our goal and I hope we can do you proud.”
Hamilton’s Dawn Apollo Films is involved in the production which includes Hollywood star Brad Pitt playing one of the APXGP drivers.
“The fact that we’ll have all the original characters that are actually on the grid and then Brad is pretty cool,” said Hamilton. “Brad is such an iconic actor and he’s always done an incredible job. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have him in the movie.”
A garage and pit-wall area have been prepared and dedicated to the APXGP team for the weekend.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)