Lewis Hamilton has dropped a clear hint that he intends to continue in Formula 1 beyond the end of the 2023 season.
Statistically the most successful driver in F1 history, 38-year-old Hamilton last year endured a winless season for the first time in his F1 career, as Mercedes initially struggled to adapt to a new set of technical regulations.
With Hamilton also finishing behind new teammate George Russell in the Drivers' Championship, and with his Mercedes contract expiring at the end of this year, there had been speculation that Hamilton may be inclined to call time on his F1 career at the end of 2023.
However, speaking at the launch of Mercedes' 2023 challenger, the W14, Hamilton poured cold water on the notion that he was tiring of F1, and insisted he was raring to go ahead of his 17th season in the sport.
"I had this great [winter] break, and I can't remember the last time I felt as excited to get in the car, even to test," Hamilton said.
"I'm excited, I feel reinvigorated, really excited to work with the team. It's been great to see just how focused everybody is, how pumped everyone is."
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"I live for the challenge" – Hamilton
After having won all but one available title from 2014 to 2021, Mercedes could only watch on as Red Bull and Max Verstappen dominated the 2022 season, but Hamilton said he was ready for the challenge to return the Silver Arrows to the top of the F1 tree.
"Obviously, I saw the car in the wind tunnel in December, and this week is the most exciting week when you see all the pieces come together," said Hamilton.
"The car looks streamlined, you can see it's an evolution. When the engineers take you through what they've done, why they've done it, and what we're hoping to get from it, it’s like Christmas - you're just waiting to be able to open your present and get in.
"Physically, I feel great. I'm very much focused on trying to raise the bar in that area. It's going to be a challenge, and that's what I live for."