Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2020

Hamilton: Salary not what matters most during ‘potentially my last period in the sport’

2020 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says the freedoms his contract gives him are more important than the income he can earn as he prepares to agree what could be his final deal to drive in F1.

The six-times champion’s current contract to drive for Mercedes expires at the end of this season. The value of his next and potentially final deal has been the focus of intense speculation.

Speaking in an interview released yesterday, but recorded earlier this year, Hamilton said agreeing his salary is usually “the easier phase” of the deal.

Since joining Mercedes in 2013, Hamilton’s contracts have imposed fewer restrictions on his activities away from the track. Securing these concessions has been more demanding than negotiating his income, he said.

“When I joined the team, I opened up doors to be able to do things like [my] partnership with Tommy [Hilfiger],” Hamilton told Sky.

“If we hadn’t had this earlier discussion, Tommy wouldn’t be a part of our team, I wouldn’t be able to do the great things that I’m doing.

Drivers, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
2020 Formula 1 drivers’ salaries
“So just small bits we have to tweak here and there which enable those things, which then don’t take away from the primary goal, which is to win world titles.

“Every year your life is moving and shifting and your plan for your next five years is always different. Obviously I’m going into potentially my last period of time in my sport and of course you want to maximise financially but it’s more about results. It’s about the journey and the destination and the other things that you’re doing also that complement that.”

Hamilton said his team principal Toto Wolff, who also participated in the interview, has been more open-minded about his contract than other bosses might.

“I think [he’s] unlike other managers [who] have generally been quite narrow-minded in a lot of things. Perhaps no one else would allow me to do, for example, the thing I do with Tommy. Which is not conflicting to any of the brands.

“If anything, that’s helped elevate us. We’ve brought a little bit of colour. Before we were a black-and-white team and now we have colours on our shirts which was not a Mercedes way in the past.

“But even Mercedes are becoming a more flexible and more appealing brand. And I think that’s only been good for us.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 9 comments on “Hamilton: Salary not what matters most during ‘potentially my last period in the sport’”

    1. Well, off course. Surely money is of relatively little interest and low priority to Hamilton. He has all of it he could even spend.
      So feeling good to do your thing is what they are talking about. And probably about the involvement of the manufacturer for the next few years.

    2. In before he will have the largest contract in the sport next year.

      1. Strange character that lad, he has the money to do everything he desires once he retires. Just get on with your job and drive pal. The older you get the more you have to put in to the sport to stay in the best shape possible.

        1. I do not see how this is considered strange for anyone. Drivers have lives outside of motorsport. Hamilton values his life outside of his profession while also being incredibly devoted to being the top driver. If anything, having healthy outlets seems to improve how he performs in the car. He will also have a long life after his career so he can make important connections now while still being in the spotlight. It seems to be working for him so why change it? It would be strange if he lived in a box and thought about nothing but racing. Nobody says Kimi is strange for his life outside of racing.

    3. Could this year be his ‘last period in the sport’ ?
      Hate to see it happen but Lewis is an interesting chap with many irons in the fire…..

      1. @budchekov I don’t think he means that next season will be his last, I think he means the next contract. So probably three seasons after this

      2. Many people don’t seem to realize that Hamilton is getting on a bit (at least in sportsman terms). It’s rare for F1 drivers to stay in the sport into their forties, and Lewis is 36 next January. I reckon he’ll sign one last big multi-year deal, then bow out of grand prix racing at the end of it.

        1. Exactly, father time and mother nature spare noone.

        2. This is definitely true, he only has a few more years left. Thankfully he still seems to be in the best shape of his life so I’m sure he is capable of still being at the top even in his forties. I bet he really wants to top the title record to achieve 8 so I’m thinking one last deal for 3-4 more years.

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