MONZA, Italy (AP) Lewis Hamilton’s future career plans have come into focus following Sebastian Vettel’s decision to extend his contract at Ferrari.
Hamilton hinted on Thursday that he plans to stay at Mercedes long term, and certainly beyond when his contract expires next season.
“I plan to extend with the team, which we will do at some point in the second half of the season or toward the end of the year,” the British driver said at the Italian Grand Prix.
Vettel’s three-year extension at Ferrari was announced last weekend.
“It’s good for Sebastian that he has signed,” the 32-year-old Hamilton said. “In the plan that I have coming up, in my five or six years or whatever it is that I have left in this sport, that piece of the puzzle is now in place so it makes my decision moving forward a lot easier.”
There had been speculation that Vettel contacted Mercedes before deciding to extend with Ferrari.
Hamilton said that Toto Wolff, Mercedes head of motorsport, kept him up to date.
“It’s kind of interesting to hear sometimes who calls and who’s trying to take my seat or take the seat next door to me,” the three-time F1 champion said. “And then to see following those calls the maneuvers that happen – such as Sebastian signing.”
“I don’t know if everyone expected him to sign a three-year deal but it doesn’t really change much for me,” Hamilton added. “I know the team is fully committed to me. I’ve never picked up the phone and spoken to any of these other teams.”