Lewis Hamilton believes he can come back stronger than ever next year and is already putting together a winter programme to launch his bid for a record eighth Formula One world championship.
First, however, the Mercedes driver hopes to get back on top of the podium in Brazil this weekend, the last sprint event of the season.
Last year he finished second in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos to team mate George Russell in what remains Mercedes’ last win.
“We had a one-two but I plan to do better this weekend,” Hamilton told Reuters at an event organised by team sponsor Petronas.
The 38-year-old great, the most successful driver in the sport’s history with 103 wins, has not triumphed since 2021 but he remained optimistic about the future.
“Right now I’m already thinking about my winter. I’m already setting up my training camp,” he said.
“It’s not just training, it’s recovery, it’s meditation, it’s cleansing the body, going through all these processes and dedicating time for that and also spending time with family and re-energising.
“I’m having that stuff planned so I can come back in the next season stronger than ever.
“With all this experience I have, I think I should be able to do a better job each year. And I’m trying to get that championship,” he added.
Interlagos, and Brazil, hold a special place in Hamilton’s heart as home to boyhood idol Ayrton Senna and a country that has welcomed him with honorary citizenship and brought him plenty of local fans.
He said his 2021 win there, in which he did a victory lap with the Brazilian flag, ranked as one of the most emotional of his career.
“I love this track. It’s just such a cool track. There’s something so special about Brazil, there’s the energy here, it’s the people, the culture, the language which I need to learn,” he explained.
“It just makes the whole place so special. That for me just energises me.”
Hamilton has finished the last two races second on track, although he was disqualified from the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin when the car failed post-race checks, and has looked increasingly comfortable in the car.
Red Bull have been dominant, with Max Verstappen now a triple champion, but Hamilton was optimistic the team could close the gap.
Mike Elliott, whose departure as Mercedes’ chief technical officer was announced on Tuesday, will not be with them but Hamilton said his contribution would not be forgotten.
“I met Mike when I was at McLaren and we worked together a long time. I’ve always had such a great relationship with Mike and really admire him. He’s such a bright guy,” said the Briton.
“We’ve had such great conversations, I’ve learnt so much from him about aerodynamics for example. He’s been an integral part of my team.
“His contract was coming to an end and he’s taken the decision to move on. You have to try not to look at it negatively, you have to want to wish the best for people,” added the Briton.
“I hope that we will continue to have our relationship that we always have. You can’t throw away all those great years together. I’m massively appreciative to him because he’s been a part of the success that we’ve had over these years.” – Reuters