Lewis Hamilton asks for more time for himself in new £120m Mercedes deal – and wants meetings on Zoom to avoid flying… as seven-time F1 champion says it would be his ‘happiest day ever’ if he is knighted by the Queen
- Lewis Hamilton recently sealed record-equalling seventh F1 championship
- British driver still feels hunger to keep going and new Mercedes deal is close
- He wants more time for himself included in contract for busy seasons ahead
- Hamilton added that the bigger fight to win is about securing racial equality
Lewis Hamilton wants more time for himself in his bumper new £120million Mercedes deal.
The seven-time Formula One champion has been away from his family even more this year amid the coronavirus pandemic and the exhaustive demands of competing at the top have led him to demand more personal days be included in the deal, expected to be finalised soon.
He told the BBC: ‘I’m going to be spending time with friends and family, creating memories, if we get to start travelling more, its about taking my family somewhere and creating memories with them and celebrating with them, just being around them because this year I’ve not been able to see them.
Lewis Hamilton says he needs more time for himself in the terms of his new Mercedes deal
The British driver sealed his seventh world championship with his victory in Turkey
And when asked if he’d have more time to himself carved into his new deal, he responded with a knowing smile.
‘Potentially… that’s always a part of the conversation, I need more time, I think this year has shown for example that you can work from home.
‘I’m sure there will be a lot of Zoom days in the contract rather than present days which means I have to fly less, which is good.’
The British star equalled Michael Schumacher’s seven titles with his masterful victory in the Turkish Grand Prix, yet another triumph in a dominant season.
At 35-years-old, he still feels the passion to continue fighting for success not only on the track, but also away from it as a key campaigner and importance voice calling for greater racial equality and diversity.
He added: ‘I would love to stay, I still feel young, I still feel energised and hungry. And what’s crazy is that yes I’ve won this seventh title but we have another big fight to win and that’s for racial equality across the board and diversity in my sport which I thought I would have helped shift just by being here but I realise that’s not the case.
‘We don’t want to force teams to hire minorities for the sake of filling a space.
‘We want to create an opportunity where those individuals are educated and have earned the right, and its also non biased hiring. I want to find out what the real problem is fight we can fix it efficiently.’
Following Hamilton’s historic achievement in securing his seventh crown, clamours for Hamilton – who has an MBE – to become a ‘Sir’ have grown from those within and outside of F1.
Lord Hain is to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to push Hamilton’s case for the honour, Rio Ferdinand described the driver as the greatest sportsman this country has every produced and Gary Lineker said he is ‘right up there alongside our greatest ever sportspeople.’
There have been calls for the Mercedes star to be knighted after his latest achievement
But he may have to wait as the Monaco-based star ‘will have his tax status vetted before a decision’ is made.
And not everyone is convinced that Hamilton is a shoo-in for a knighthood.
Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan argued that Hamilton is not equal to Brits from other sports as he has a superior car and is therefore not competing on a level playing field.
‘If you have a car that is going a second a lap quicker than the other cars, in theory all he has to beat is his team-mate [Valtteri] Bottas – who seems to be comfortable and happy playing second fiddle,’ he told the Daily Star.
‘It doesn’t mean as much as say a sport like tennis with [Roger] Federer playing everyone on a level playing field, or [Eliud] Kipchoge running against everyone on a level playing field.
Snooker legend O’Sullivan believes Hamilton has an unfair advantage in the sport
‘It is fantastic for Lewis to win seven world titles, but if your car is going around quicker you can afford to make a few mistakes and still get away with it.
‘It’s a bit like driving around smoking a cigar with one finger on the wheel!’
Hamilton himself has previously played down the calls for a knighthood, saying: ‘I’ve not saved any lives, I’m not an unsung hero like NHS staff or Captain Sir Tom Moore.’
But he told the BBC that if the honour was to be bestowed on him, it would be the happiest day of his life to meet the Queen again.
He said: ‘Like everyone, I’ve grown up adoring the royal family, if one day I am honoured to be up in front of the queen again, it would be the happiest day ever to see here again, she’s an icon, such an incredible individual.’
Hamilton went on to add that of all the messages of congratulations, the one he was most in awe of was posted on the royal family’s social media pages.
Hamilton was awarded an MBE back in 2009 by the Queen at Buckingham Palace
The 35-year-old will be firm favourite to win his eighth F1 championship next season
‘I’ve definitely not got used to the idea (of being 7 time champ), it’s always just a privilege when people mention it, I’ve had more messages than I’ve ever had in my entire life,’ he continued.
‘The loveliest messages, some of them from super incredible people. What I will say is that the royal family posted a message (Tweet), which was “wow”, to see the royal family do a personal post that was one of the biggest honours I feel like I’ve experienced.’
But the messages that meant the most to Hamilton were from those closest to him.
‘In all honesty I don’t do it all for the recognition, I’ve trained my whole life. The most important people when I got out of the race and got home was, you know, facetiming with my sister, my brother, my mum, my niece and nephew and speaking to my dad and my step mum Linda, that’s all I need. If there’s any recognition, the best one is when a parent tells you that they’re proud,’ he said.
Hamilton has wrapped up the title with three races to go but will no doubt be targeting more wins in the coming weeks in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi to further underline his status as the best driver in the sport.
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