The Mercedes driver won his fifth world championship this year, bringing him within two of reaching Michael Schumacher’s all-time record. He ended the season with his 73rd victory, which leaves him 18 shy of Schumacher’s win record.
“I feel like I’m still not at my best,” said Hamilton at an event for team sponsor Hewlett-Packard. “I’m just on the way there, I’ve still got lots of work to do.
“We’ve just signed for another two years so ’19 and ’20 are going to be interesting. My goal is to make such Ferrari don’t win a championship within those two years – or Red Bull.”
Hamilton said he is wary of the threat from F1’s new generation of talent including Max Verstappen at Red Bull and Charles Leclerc at Ferrari.
“We’ve got the Red Bulls who are really trying to come at us strongly, we’ve got young Max Verstappen who wants to steal a world championship. We’ve got now Charles Leclerc in Ferrari who’s going to want to impress next year.
“And these guys are all much younger. I’m the third-oldest driver now in Formula 1, which is ridiculous because I’m only 33. But these guys, they’re all in their young teens now. So how do I remain relevant, how do I remain fitter than all these guys, how do I remain mentally more focussed and more diligent than all these other guys? That’s my super focus, to stay ahead of them.”
The off-season will be a chance to reflect on areas he can improve, said Hamilton. “This next month I’m going to sit down and figure out where I can be better.
“I asked my team to send me an email from several different departments, asked them to be blunt. They don’t even need to tell me who the email’s from, just tell me the things [they] think I can improve on: If there’s been a certain experience this year you felt that could be better or something I’ve said that’s swayed the energy within the team.
“Because I’m looking to be the all-time great and that means winning in all areas.”
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