Hamilton says that he wants to end his career as successfully as Rossi:
Valentino is towards one of the older riders now, but he still has the ability to be at the top. He still has the ability to do so, and so I hope that I am in the similar position towards the end of my career.
I do. Generally when I think about it, I have this three-year contract. I am hoping that I have another three or four years after that. However, he is well aware of how hard it is to pick the right moment to walk away – and says that more success in the future would only likely encourage him to stay rather than provide the perfect opportunity to quit at the top. We all are greedy, we always want more. You know that you have just won the championship, you still feel healthy, you still feel fit. Plus you know that next year is going to be the same year, it is just going to be good.
New Zealand police say Hamilton will not be charged after he posts two Snapchat videos of himself while riding a Harley Davidson. In one clip, Hamilton appears to be driving on a busy highway while filming over his shoulder. It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving in New Zealand. Police:
The video footage available does not provide us with sufficient enough evidence that an offence has occurred. We would like to reiterate our earlier statements that police take the issue of mobile phone use whilst driving or riding very seriously. It is a significant distraction and a major risk to all road users.
Lewis Hamilton Snapchat video selfie while riding motorbike
Hamilton says he is still hungry for success in Formula 1 despite achieving his childhood ambition of winning his third title last year.
I don’t know how far I can go, how long I will go on in F1. I am going into a new chapter in my life and I will see where it takes me. [I am motivated by] my love for the sport and cars; my love for wanting to be able to take the car to the edge, to the unknown, to an area most people can’t. Those who said I would not succeed, and not amount to anything, I am going to continue to prove them wrong and smile in their face as I do so…I still pinch myself every day to think I used to go home from school and put the video in and watch Ayrton and now I have matched him in a similar amount of races in terms of results. But he still has more poles than me so I still have more targets in that sense…I don’t know how long I will be as good as I have been. But that’s the exciting thing about life; you don’t know what’s around the corner so I will give it everything I have got.
At a press conference in Stuttgart. Mercedes’ Wolff says the team owes it to F1 to let the pair remain rivals on the track.
We are stakeholders in Formula One. A good show is essential for the sport. We want lots of fighting on the track. And the rivalry between these two guys is important. Our role is to step back a little and leave it up to these two to fight it out in the track.
The two drivers, who have barely talked this year exchanged some words:
Hamilton: I think when I first got [into the car] I was like, ‘Jeez, I’m old’, because I have been doing it a long time. Physically when you get in the car each time it gets harder and harder.
Rossberg: Physically harder and harder? Getting old? What is the reason?
Hamilton: I have seen some grey hairs on you. You know how it is, you’re only six months behind me.
At Mercedes’ pre-season launch in Stuttgart, Hamilton says Ferrari has improved.
Honestly we are going to have a real battle. Ferrari has seriously picked up its game. That’s my opinion. It’s still difficult to know. The car is good but Ferrari was strong towards the end of last year and they have made a significant improvement from last year to this year. They did some incredible times at the last test in some of their long runs and I believe they didn’t bring an upgrade to any of the test days, so I imagine they will bring a good package to the first race. You are going to see a good fight, which is what I want and we want in the sport. I’m excited about that.
Hamilton says critics of F1’s new qualifying format, which eliminates the slowest driver in 90-second intervals, to wait until the system has made its debut in Australia before passing judgment.
What’s most important is how the fans feel about it. There have been some good formats and some OK formats. I’ve generally enjoyed the format of the last few years. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to me right now, the changes that have been made, but don’t knock it until you try it. I’m looking forward to getting to Melbourne and trying it out, and maybe we’ll be surprised. It may be really exciting, or maybe it won’t. We’ll see…you’ll get comments from the fans as to whether it’s good or not.
At an event in London to promote Channel 4’s presenting team for the F1 season, Coulthard talks about Hamilton’s focus.
It seems crazy to question whether Lewis can win another title, given that he’s won the last two, but you have to ask where his energy is going. He splits his time between F1 and being a global star – the car and the music. We’re all waiting to see when the album will drop…There’s no question that Lewis is fit and focused when he’s at the racetrack. But he does have a full-on social life away from grand prix racing. And throwing in the American dream. We all know it’s not easy jumping on and off aircraft. Is this the year that’s going to take its toll? I don’t know. I hope not…It’s not a criticism. It’s an observation, in admiration. That he’s been somehow able to find this happy place, of driving quickly and going off and doing other things. The bottom line is I’m jealous. He’s faster than I was and he gets to go to some really cool parties.
Hamilton presents his car’s 2016 steering wheel. He says that he helped design the wheel, cutting 250 grams by slicing off the base of the handgrips where they meet the centre puck, unnecessary due to the way he holds the wheel while racing. There’s a large central display as in previous years, buttons for brake bias, DRS, pit lane speed limiting, three manettinos for engine/fuel strategy, engine mapping, and a central multifunction dial that influences everything from tyre swaps in the pits to cruise control.
I’m really proud of it actually, because when I joined this team, I took a lot of pride in trying to work with the engineers to lose a lot of weight in the wheel.. When I joined we actually had a big steering wheel…there was no need to continue connecting the bottom of the grip to the central part of the wheel…My favorite buttons are the marker button, for any issues I have, to remind me when I come back to analyse the data; the DRS and the pit buttons, and those to adjust the braking.
Unboxing F1: Lewis Hamilton's new 2016 steering wheel
Hamilton says the ‘halo’ head protection device is “too drastic” and wants to be able to choose whether to use it.
Please no! This is the worst-looking mod in F1 history. I understand safety is a huge issue and something we have to work towards, but this is not the one…[F1 cars have] lost the cool look they used to have in the 1980s and 1990s. It is not F1 for me. If they do implement it, I hope we have a choice of whether we have to use it and are not forced to, because ultimately it is our safety.
I really need to try a MotoGP bike because MotoGP is so cool and more exciting to watch I would say and is closer racing. Valentino is incredible and is my favourite as he is for a lot of people. There are also a lot of other great riders and I definitely want to make it to more races this year as I’ve only been to one a season. This year I will try and make it to more and I’m dying to get on the back of one [bike] at least. I just won’t tell my team!
And here we have my new baby. This is the vessel that’s going to take us to the championship. Even though they’re all similar, there’s a pretty huge leap in development, and that’s the name of the game.
A new Silver Arrow is born: Lewis Hamilton presents the 2016 Mercedes F1 W07!