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Hamilton hits back at suggestions he could walk from Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton is unhappy with suggestions that Mercedes' poor performance could see him walk away, insisting that he remains "100 per cent committed" to the team.

Lewis Hamilton has responded to those who have suggested he could turn his back on Mercedes amid the team's on-track struggles. The Silver Arrows scored just two podiums across the opening three rounds of the season and finished, by merit, outside the points-scoring positions during Saturday's Sprint at Imola. It remains to be seen how long it will take the team, who predominantly blame porpoising for their lack of performance, to return to race-winning competitiveness. That has resulted in some pundits, including two-time World Champion Mika Hakkinen, questioning whether or not 37-year-old Hamilton will remain with the Mercedes beyond his current deal.

Hamilton unhappy with exit suggestions

Speaking ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend, Hakkinen said that he believes Hamilton may already be considering departing the team when his contract expires at the end of 2023. He told Unibet : "It's a fact. He's been at Mercedes for years and won multiple championships. Now that things are not going well, he'll start thinking of switching teams." In response to such suggestions, Hamilton has told members of the media, including RacingNews365.com : "I've seen a couple of comments from certain individuals that I remember growing up respecting when I was younger. "Ultimately, their comments are silly, and a bunch of nonsense, all in the aim to get headlines to keep themselves relevant. "Look, I've been with Mercedes since I was 13. We've had amazing times together; we've ridden the highs and lows together. I am 100 per cent committed to this team – there's nowhere else that I want to be."

"It's not in my DNA to back out"

Hamilton's slow start to the season has already seen him lose plenty of ground on Word Championship leader Charles Leclerc. Thanks to the seven points Leclerc scored during Saturday's Sprint at Imola, the Ferrari driver now counts a 50-point buffer between himself and Hamilton. But, despite claiming that Mercedes are no longer fighting for the 2022 title , Hamilton says he is refusing to quit. "Just because we've hit a rough patch, it's not in my DNA to back out," he added. "We are still World Champions and we can fix this, it's just going to take longer and it's going to take a painful year. "I think, ultimately, this is going to be a painful year that we're going to have to ride out together and with the belief that we can rectify it, at some point maybe through the year, or even, worst-case scenario, at least for next year."

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