Not that the 36-year-old Briton, who has the most race wins or podiums in F1 history, thinks like that.
“Right then, it’s about being the best you can be and living to your full potential.
“So that’s something I’m looking for and [to stay] as focused and motivated as possible.
“I think the surprising thing is that I have run this long and still have the same feeling when I fail or when I fail, and I turn that into a positive and use it as fuel.
“I thought it would fade as I got older, but it doesn’t.”
It’s an approach that has seen Hamilton rise to the top of his sport, overtaking some of his idols along the way.
Hamilton is now fighting for an eighth world title this season, a championship that would see him eliminate a record he currently shares with racing legend Michael Schumacher.
That’s quite the distinction for the boy who was kicked out of school all those years ago and whose father, Anthony, juggled three jobs, mortgaged the family home, and dipped into his savings to keep his son in the karting.
“My dream has always been to get to Formula 1, to do something like Ayrton Senna – he won three world titles,” added the Mercedes driver and IWC ambassador.
“And then to see me match him at some point and then go beyond.
“To think I’m here today, where most people don’t even get a championship and having seven, is still very, very crazy.
“But every year when I come back it’s like a reset. Like, I’m not a champion. I don’t have any titles. I go for the first one.
“It’s kind of my mentality. But an eighth? I don’t know. I never really say it.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing an eighth world title is longtime rival Max Verstappen.
“I think for us it’s just about making sure we keep enjoying the trip, not putting too much pressure on ourselves because we’ve been here many times before,” he said. declared.
“But don’t let this desire and thirst for success dominate everything and put extra pressure on us that we don’t really need.
“But it’s all about preparation, making sure we’re as prepared as possible.”
Inspiration from Tom Brady
In addition to his own desire, Hamilton drew inspiration from all corners of society and all kinds of sports.
Speaking to CNN from Austin ahead of this weekend’s US Grand Prix, the driver acknowledged how much he can learn from the likes of NFL veteran Tom Brady.
Like Hamilton, Brady is considered one of the best in the history of his sport and the similarities don’t end there.
While the Briton has won seven world championships, the 44-year-old quarterback can boast seven Super Bowl titles and is still competing at the highest level today.
“I think naturally when you’re an athlete you definitely see people you can relate to,” Hamilton explained.
“I had the privilege of witnessing Tom’s success and we were literally neighbors for a second.
“I think that’s really the mentality of an athlete: the motivation, the training regime, the attention to detail and the kind of constant pursuit of perfection.
“But also the teamwork element of being the team leader, of being part of a big group of people who are all headed towards a common goal.
“He’s such an amazing leader, so I take more inspiration from him.”
“I’m never going to give it up”
Such a long career isn’t something Hamilton seriously entertains, but the driver is far from hanging up his gloves.
He still has that competitive edge – a trait honed by having his brother run on computer games from a young age – and still has that appetite for adrenaline.
“I don’t think I’ll run until I’m 50. But who knows? I’ll definitely do things like that,” he said with a smile.
“Whether it’s skydiving, whether it’s surfing, whether it’s just going to a local track, go-karting with friends or whatever.
“I think I’m never going to necessarily give it up but maybe, professionally, I will have to.”
Off-piste assistance mission
While becoming the elite sportsman he is today, Hamilton continued to use his global platform to strive for more than just success on the track.
He has been a frank voice on issues such as climate change and equality and has lobbied his sport, and society at large, to become more tolerant and deal with issues of lack of diversity. .
It’s a mission perhaps born out of his own life experiences – Hamilton says the UK education system ‘failed’ him growing up after being kicked out of school for something he says he didn’t made.
“I was one of those,” Hamilton said.
“Only 1% of the 40,000 people in the industry in the UK alone are of black descent,” Hamilton said, admitting that there was still a lot of work to be done.
“We have to change the pipeline. We have to have more eyes, get more encouragement for these young children to be interested in STEM subjects so that they realize that there are so many great pathways to which there is engineering can lead. ”
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