Lewis Hamilton, who had a challenging start to the Formula 1 season, seems to have regained his positive spirit. And it’s not just because of his car but possibly due to a new relationship.
Hamilton’s recent transformation caught everyone’s attention as the British driver appeared almost unrecognisable. Not only did he display his familiar fighting spirit after finishing second at the Spanish Grand Prix, but it was evident that the self-assurance of a seven-time Formula 1 world champion had returned.
Hamilton: “Best car I’ve driven”
“That was the best car I’ve driven in the last year and a half,” remarked Hamilton. He expressed particular satisfaction with the car’s performance in Barcelona, noting that if it worked well there, it bodes well for future races.
Mercedes introduced an update for the W14, which had struggled by their high standards, at the Barcelona race and secured second (Hamilton) and third (George Russell) places in Catalonia. Suddenly, the Silver Arrows presented themselves as the second strongest team behind Red Bull Racing. The team took significant risks with the car’s innovations and had to reorient themselves.
Fortunately for Mercedes, it appears their decisions paid off.
“We completely overhauled the aerodynamic concept and completely changed the front suspension,” explained team boss Toto Wolff.
“It could have gone in a completely different direction. We made decisions without knowing if they would work.” Consequently, he currently feels a bit like a “Jugend forscht” participant (a reference to a German youth science competition). This is why the Austrian cautions against excessive euphoria.
Hamilton Looks Ahead to 2024
Hamilton also acknowledges that Mercedes may struggle to keep up with Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen in the long run. In Barcelona, the gap to Verstappen over the race distance was still 24 seconds. However, Hamilton’s hope is that this season they can at least provide more excitement at the top and challenge for victories. Hamilton has been waiting for a top podium finish for quite some time; his last victory was on December 5, 2021.
“We are improving and getting closer, but they are also improving,” commented Hamilton, who is already focused on the future. At 38 years old, he recognizes that this is likely his last opportunity to claim the coveted eighth world championship title, surpassing the legendary Michael Schumacher.
“I’m concentrating on making sure we can challenge Red Bull from day one next year.”
When Will the Contract Extension Happen?
The phrases “we” and “next year” strongly suggest that a contract extension is on the horizon. Many anticipated an announcement on Monday, as Hamilton had mentioned his scheduled meeting with Wolff. If an agreement has been reached, it has not been officially announced yet. However, if it hasn’t, it seems to be only a matter of time. Hamilton gives no indication that he intends to move to Ferrari in the twilight of his career, despite recent media speculation.
“He appears to be liberated and optimistic about the future, believing that he will soon win another race and possibly have a chance to secure his eighth world championship title,” wrote Sky pundit Ralf Schumacher in his column.
“I had the sense that optimism had left him for a while, but now it’s back,” Schumacher added.
Private Happiness with Shakira?
Perhaps this newfound sporting optimism is also influenced by personal happiness. Rumours of a potential relationship with pop star Shakira have been growing stronger recently.
The two were spotted together on a boat trip and dining after the Miami race, and most recently in Barcelona.
First, Shakira was seen at the race and in the Mercedes garage. Then, a viral social media post captured Hamilton and Shakira at a posh restaurant in Barcelona, accompanied by musician Mustafa the Poet, who shared the photo on Instagram. Hamilton had his arm around Shakira, further fueling the rumours.
Hamilton’s last known relationship was with American musician Nicole Scherzinger, which ended definitively in 2014. Since then, he has been linked to several people, but nothing seems to have been long-lasting.
Interestingly, a video has emerged showing Hamilton stating on stage during an interview before the Spanish race, “I’ve got to find me a Latina.” His teammate Russell chimed in, “You’ve been single for far too long now. We need to find someone for you.”
It’s quite possible that Hamilton’s wish has already been fulfilled.