JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Lewis Hamilton has reiterated that he has no plans to leave Mercedes or quit Formula One as a result of his recent on-track struggles.
After eight consecutive seasons at the very front of the grid, Mercedes dropped off the pace last year and appears to have slid further down the order this season.
Ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, team boss Toto Wolff said he would not hold a grudge if Hamilton walked away from the team in a couple of years as a result of ongoing poor performances.
Hamilton’s current contract comes to an end this year, but he played down Wolff’s suggestion that he might walk away from the team if it fails to improve.
“I’m not focussed on that, I love this team, I’m so grateful for everyone who has been on this journey with me in this team,” Hamilton said. “I don’t envisage being anywhere else, I don’t see myself quitting.
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“I’ve been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. I’m trying to be patient and work with the team to get us to a good place. That’s all I can say really.”
Speculation around Hamilton’s future comes on the same weekend that he and his performance coach Angela Cullen announced they had parted ways.
Asked about the reasons for the split, the seven-time world champion said it was not down to a falling out.
“Angela and I are good,” he added. “She’s in a different phase of her life, we’re still super close.
“We keep texting every day, massively supportive and I’m massively supportive of her — so grateful to have had her with me on this journey.
“She’s one of my closest friends and continues to be.”
Hamilton will start Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from seventh on the grid, four places behind teammate George Russell, after saying he did not have confidence in the car during qualifying.
“The car is where it is, George did a great job, he’s right up there on the second row, so the car is obviously working, I just don’t feel connected to this car,” he said. “No matter what I do, no matter what I change I can’t get the confidence back.”