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Published: 16:28 | 23/4/18

Hamilton: I want to push Mercedes "as far as I can"

Lewis Hamilton has given the clearest indication yet that he will extend his contract with Mercedes beyond the current season after he spoke in hugely positive terms about the standards, goals and aspirations he holds for the German manufacturer.

A four-time Formula One World Drivers' Championship winner, Hamilton won three of those titles with his current manufacturer, having switched from McLaren after winning his first world title. The 33-year-old Briton has yet to sign a new contract, but it would appear that his mind is very much settled on continuing with the Brackley-based outfit.

"My hope for the future is that we continue, continue to grow, excel and always move forwards," Hamilton said today.

"Obviously - to build our relationship. But I really want to take this team the furthest it has ever been. I want to be part of this journey where Mercedes are the most successful Formula One team in history.

"I want to push it as far as I can, with the lifespan as a driver that I have, that it would take a long, long time for anyone else to catch up. I think it would really upset the red cars and the red team [Ferrari], so that's my goal."

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit will be shown live on eir sport 1 on Sunday, 29 April [start time 1.10pm Irish time]

Hamilton also spoke about his decision to initially leave McLaren for Mercedes back in 2013, a move that at the time was perceived by many to be left field, but which in hindsight proved to be an inspired decision by Hamilton, with McLaren failing to win a single drivers' or constructors' title since Hamilton's departure.

"I'd already done everything I think I could have done at McLaren. I saw Mercedes as this baby about to start growing into something and I wanted to be a part of it," continued Hamilton.

"People saw it as a big risk, but I'm a risk taker and that's exciting. If you're not taking risks, you're not living."

The Stevenage man also pinpointed last year's drivers' and constructors' title double as his best season yet with Mercedes, due to the unity he perceived within the team. A comment that might be construed as a dig at former team-mate, and 2016 drivers' championship winner, Nico Rosberg, who had a famously frosty relationship with Hamilton, before retiring to be replaced by Valtteri Bottas - formerly of Williams.

"I think last year was such a special year for us in terms of all of us being unified and the momentum that we were able to create. We kept supporting each other," he said.

"When one part of the team slipped a little bit, we were strong enough to lift each other up, when I slipped a little bit the team was able to lift me up.

"Overall, it was a momentous year in the relationship. Naturally, our relationship has been growing through that whole phase. It wouldn't be the same if you weren't competitive. You can see how competitive you are."

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit will be shown live on eir sport 1 on Sunday, 29 April [start time 1.10pm Irish time]

Image: Getty/ Lintao Zhang

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