Valtteri Bottas says it would be a "no-brainer" to remain at Mercedes should he be offered a new deal.

Bottas, who finished second in the Formula One world championship behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton in 2019, is contracted to Mercedes until the end of the 2020 season.

Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton are some of the other big-name drivers who are also out of contract at the end of the next campaign.

However, he insists he has no intention of leaving the team if a new offer is put on the table.

"I think it's going to be an interesting season for sure. I can't remember a time where so many people are expiring with contracts," Bottas said, in quotes reported by GPToday.net.

"Of course, like every other driver, I will look at all the possible options.

"Now, if I could decide on my future for 2021 it would be a no-brainer to continue with this team. I really enjoy it here, we are performing better and better and I am becoming a better driver all of the time."

Bottas also claimed his first rally victory in 2019, and acknowledged it is one possible avenue for him to move into once he calls time on his F1 career.

"It's too early to say," Bottas said. "You never know what's ahead in life or what's gonna happen but at the moment I like it. It's a fun thing for me to do and I like it.

"I also think it's good for me to try it and to have something different for my skills. I haven't thought that far and I still see myself in F1 for quite some time.

"There is still lots to give and lots to achieve for sure. One day, I'll see what I want to do but for the moment I find it a lot of fun and I would say never say never."

Lewis Hamilton described 2019 as the "best season of my life" after he officially collected the Formula One World Championship trophy at the FIA's awards gala in Paris.

The Mercedes driver finished ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull star Max Verstappen to win the drivers' title for a sixth time, putting him one behind Michael Schumacher.

He ended the campaign with a magnificent 11th victory in Abu Dhabi, a triumph that matched his personal best tally for wins in a season and ensured he comprehensively beat Bottas by 87 points.

After receiving his trophy, Hamilton told the watching audience he did not think he had enjoyed a better season in his F1 career.

"For me this has definitely been the best season of my life," Hamilton said.

"I've enjoyed collaborating with this incredible team. Not everyone realises it is almost 2,000 people in our team.

"Fighting hard with Valtteri and a lot of these up and coming young drivers this year has been fantastic.

"To come into a sixth year, to have fought for a world title at the front and sustained the performance we have collectively I think has been amazing. On the driver front, I’m definitely very happy with my performance this year. 

"There's been lots of great races, the last few years have been intense with Ferrari, but having another team [Red Bull] up there in the loop has made it more challenging for us all."

Hamilton expects a closer battle in 2020 with Verstappen, who won the award for Action of the Year for his battle with Charles Leclerc at Silverstone.

"I'm just looking forward to this winter - next year is going to be close," added Hamilton, who has been linked with a move to Ferrari in 2021 with his Mercedes contract having one year left to run.

"The Red Bulls with Max are going to be fantastic.

"The Ferraris have picked up their pace and have been extraordinary in the second half of the season.

"I'm hoping you're going to see the closest season yet. I'll be best prepared and hope for the best season there's been."

Verstappen's team-mate Alex Albon won the Rookie of the Year award, while Mercedes collected their sixth consecutive constructors' title.

Former Mercedes executive and three-time world champion Niki Lauda, who died in May, was honoured with the Personality of the Year award.

Valtteri Bottas insists he has what it takes to beat Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who is celebrating a sixth Formula One world title.

Mercedes, who have won a record six consecutive drivers' and constructors' title doubles, are expected to be front-runners again in 2020.

That is the last year before new technical regulations come in for 2021, and Bottas, having finished behind Hamilton in all three of his seasons with the German manufacturer, is eager to pose a more consistent challenge to the Briton.

Bottas finished 87 points behind Hamilton this year but feels the four race wins and five pole positions he earned over the season proved he has what it takes.

"For 2020, there are no major regulation changes in Formula One so that means I think it will be even closer competition with many teams," Bottas said in quotes to Sky Sports at a PETRONAS event to celebrate the team's 2019 campaign.

"Other teams, drivers, will play a part in the fight as well but obviously Lewis always is a difficult driver to beat. 

"But I've been able to do it at times so I know I can do it."

The grid could have a very different look to by the time 2021 arrives, not least because Hamilton has been linked with a stunning move to Ferrari.

Now only one win away from Michael Schumacher's record of seven drivers' titles, Hamilton stressed it is key to appreciate the successes already achieved rather than look too far ahead.

"It's really, really important always to just be grateful for what I have at the moment," he said.

"Of course, we'll be in search for another championship, but in this sport you never know when that could be.

"It could be next year, it could be years. Some people don't even have one, so it's really important to be grateful for what we have."

Of the challenge ahead of him in 2020, Hamilton added: "Next year I think will be similar to this year. 

"However, I think the competition is probably going to step up. You have seen this year McLaren have picked up, Red Bull have picked up their pace, you have seen some more teams are coming into the spot. 

"It's a little bit easier to chase than it is to lead."

Lewis Hamilton is relishing another battle with Max Verstappen as he looks to claim an 11th Formula One victory of a 2019 campaign that concludes with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

Sunday's race will see Mercedes bid for a sixth consecutive race win at Yas Marina Circuit, Hamilton having come out on top in three of the last five editions.

The world champion earned the 88th pole position of his illustrious career in qualifying, the first time he has topped the grid in his last 10 attempts.

Hamilton was ecstatic to end that barren run in the 21st and final race of the year and has put himself in prime position to add a win which would equal the personal best season tally he previously recorded in 2014 and 2018.

Valtteri Bottas qualified second but will start at the back after taking a host of engine penalties, meaning Verstappen, who won in Brazil last time out, will renew his combat with Hamilton from Interlagos on the front row.

Asked about continuing their scrap, Hamilton said: "Absolutely, yeah. 

"I think we are in a slightly better position this weekend. Obviously, Max is continuing to drive well, but I'm looking forward to battling with him for sure.

"It's been such a long slog trying to get this pole position. I don't think my qualifying has been terrible but it's just not been at my usual standard perhaps, so of course it's incredibly satisfying. 

"Obviously that's not even half the job done. We've got to battle with the Ferraris and the Red Bulls but I think we put ourselves in the best position possible, so incredibly happy. 

"We just really tried to see what we could pull out of the car this weekend. It's well suited to the track and it's been feeling good."

Verstappen vowed to challenge Hamilton but is aware he faces a tough task due to Mercedes' strength at this track.

"I don't think it's going to be easy, but we are going to give it a good try as a team, try and put them under pressure and see what happens," said the Dutchman, who was 0.360s off Hamilton's track-record pole time.

"We always know that Mercedes are very quick on the long runs. You have to be realistic and I think Mercedes is very quick. But there's still a lot of chances for Sunday.

"Qualifying was pretty decent. We seem to lack a bit of grip compared to [Mercedes] and they are especially very quick in the last sector. They are always very dominant here on this track but we tried to be as close as we could."


LECLERC WILL TAKE RISKS

In the last 10 races in Abu Dhabi, where overtaking is difficult, only once has a driver starting behind the front row won, when Kimi Raikkonen triumphed from fourth in 2012.

The all-Ferrari second row of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel therefore have their work cut out after suffering more frustration following their crash in Brazil.

Leclerc, following Vettel, could not cross the line in time to set a final flying lap in Q3. He initially blamed his German team-mate for driving slowly, though the four-time world champion was also hindered by traffic.

The Monegasque, trailing Verstappen by 11 points in the fight to finish third in the drivers' championship, has vowed to take chances, though he also has fifth-placed Vettel just 19 behind him.

Asked if he could win, Leclerc said: "Yes, definitely, and I will take quite a bit of risk at the start. 

"I need to take some risk; I need to finish in front of Max for the championship and in the end I will give it all.

"We'll analyse it [qualifying] and try to understand for it to not happen again, because it's a big shame."

Three-time Abu Dhabi winner Vettel, who will start on soft tyres in contrast to mediums for the two Mercedes, Red Bulls and Leclerc, also had his say on the disappointing qualifying finish.

The German, who arrived to the circuit late this week after the birth of his third child, said: "Alex Albon was backing up because he had a McLaren in front of him. I don't know who was in front of the McLaren or whether the McLaren could be closer.

"It was just a pity because my tyres were very cold to start with and I lost it straight in the first corner and Charles didn't even start the lap."

Team boss Mattia Binotto conceded Ferrari had "screwed up" trying to take a risk by being the last cars out to take advantage of improving track conditions.
 

BOTTAS SETTING NO LIMITS

Bottas, meanwhile, insisted anything was possible after a retirement last time out ended a run of four straight podiums.

"Everything is always possible," said the Finn. "There's no point for me to set any limit really. Take every opportunity there will be and for sure there will be some. 

"We've seen crazy races this year – look back two weeks in Brazil. So anything is possible. Look forward to coming up and taking those opportunities and most importantly having fun in the car.

"We'll find the fighting spirit. I believe. Anything is possible. We do have a good car and normally Sunday is better than Saturday for us so we'll give it all I have for sure.

"We've had many ideas for the strategy and obviously it's going to be a challenge, coming up from there – but I do look forward to it. I'm sure it can be fun trying to come up."
 

LAST HURRAH FOR HULKENBERG?

The performance of Renault's Nico Hulkenberg will also be closely watched.

Replaced by Esteban Ocon for 2020 and with all other drives now taken, the German will start what may ultimately prove his last F1 race in ninth position as Renault look to hold off Toro Rosso for fifth in the constructors' championship.

"When I got in the car, it was business as usual," said the 32-year-old, who aims to return in the future. 

"We still have the job in the constructors, which is very important. I just want to live it, enjoy it, get it done."
 

THE GRID

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
5. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
6. Lando Norris (McLaren)
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
8. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
9. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
10. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Lewis Hamilton
2017: Valtteri Bottas
2016: Lewis Hamilton
2015: Nico Rosberg

DRIVER STANDINGS

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 387
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 314 (-73)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 260 (-127)
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 249 (-138)
5. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 230 (-157)

CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS

1. Mercedes 701
2. Ferrari 479 (-222)
3. Red Bull 391 (-310)
4. McLaren 140 (-561)
5. Renault 91 (-610)

WEATHER FORECAST 

Sunday's race is expected to be hot, with temperatures of up to 27 degrees Celcius, with no threat of rain or high winds.

Valtteri Bottas will start the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the back of the grid as his Mercedes needs a new power unit. 

Bottas retired due to an engine problem at Interlagos last time out, the first occasion he has experienced a mechanical failure since the Austrian Grand Prix last year.

Mercedes on Thursday revealed that the internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H in the Finn's W10 would be replaced.

Bottas will have to work his way through the field at Yas Marina on Sunday after his record of being the only driver not to be given a grid penalty this season was ended.

The former Williams man claimed his fourth victory of the year in the United States before he was unable to finish the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Bottas is guaranteed to finish the season second in the driver standings behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel was excused from media duties on Thursday after being cleared to arrive in Abu Dhabi later in the day following the birth of his third child.

Vettel was still expected to have plenty of time to prepare for practice on Friday.

 

Max Verstappen made it worth the wait as he triumphed in a remarkable Brazilian Grand Prix, a year after an Interlagos victory was snatched from his grasp.

A cruel collision with back-marker Esteban Ocon 12 months ago saw Verstappen hand the lead to Lewis Hamilton, who went on to take the checkered flag.

Verstappen was so upset on that occasion that he took out his frustration on Ocon when remonstrating with the Frenchman after the race, and was handed a two-day 'public service' punishment.

This time it was world champion Hamilton who was left frustrated, frequently chuntering complaints from the cockpit as he and Verstappen vied for supremacy.

Victory after a series of dramas went to Verstappen, and rather than Hamilton it was Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly who finished second. Hamilton was provisionally third for Mercedes, but a late collision with Alex Albon threatened to affect that. Hamilton apologised after the race and a penalty looked likely.

Hamilton was unhappy with the choice of tyres - soft rather than medium - at the first change, and seemed repeatedly irked.

Later Hamilton complained he was a "sitting duck" when Verstappen went to the pits for a third time as the safety car came out when Valtteri Bottas, his engine smoking, pulled over on the 54th lap.

And that was exactly how it played out, Verstappen sweeping past Hamilton when racing resumed on the 60th lap, taking the lead at the first corner.

If Hamilton had a trying day, Ferrari had a nightmare. Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were pushing to finish on the podium when they astonishingly collided on the 66th lap. Leclerc looked to go past his senior team-mate, who appeared to turn into him, resulting in a clash of tyres and a pair of blow-outs.

"What the hell? Come on!" snapped Leclerc, as the latest chapter in a tense rivalry between the team-mates unfolded, causing another safety car interruption.

Hamilton went to the pits for his third change, leaving him down in fourth as the 71-lap race neared its conclusion. As racing resumed, Hamilton went for broke and ran into Albon, Verstappen's team-mate who was also in the podium frame.

Gasly avoided the carnage and quietly moved up to second place, with Hamilton crossing the line in third, Carlos Sainz fourth and Kimi Raikkonen fifth.

Valtteri Bottas does not intend to emulate former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg by employing mind games to get the better of Lewis Hamilton in the 2020 title race.

Hamilton wrapped up his sixth Formula One world title – and third in succession – by finishing second at the United States Grand Prix, where Bottas claimed his fourth win of the season.

The last person to deny the Briton the individual crown was Rosberg, who revealed mental tricks learned from seven-time champion Michael Schumacher helped him come out on top in 2016.

Asked if he would employ similar tactics in a bid to dethrone Hamilton next year, Bottas said: "Honestly, I'm already bored of that question because every driver is an individual. I'm me, I'm not Nico.

"I always have plans, pointing the different ways on how I want to achieve my goal, which is ultimately the championship. That requires me to beat my team-mate but also many other drivers.

"I've always preferred to do the talking on the track. If I can keep up my performance and focus all of my energy that I have into my own performance, I think that's the best bet for me. If I start wasting energy elsewhere it might take my mind off the driving and what really matters.

"If I can perform at the level I want to, normally that upsets the other side of the garage a little bit. I know being on the other side as well it can lead you to mistakes, but I have a plan for next year. I'm not really willing to share it, so we'll find out."

Bottas has sealed more wins, pole positions, podiums and points in 2019 than in any of his six previous F1 campaigns.

He said: "If I look at it overall then it's been my best so far in Formula One. But for sure I still need more consistency and fewer mistakes.

"The thing that gives me confidence and good feelings for the future is we're actually really starting to see the work with the engineers and what I've been doing myself and driving-wise and being really able to target many of the weakness I've had and being able to improve my pace in different circumstances quite a lot. That's very satisfying to see and makes you want more."

The Finn could claim successive victories for the first time in his F1 career at the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend.

Tributes will be paid to three-time champion Ayrton Senna in the first race at Interlagos since the 25th anniversary of his death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

"He left a massive mark and legacy," Bottas said of the Brazilian icon. "Time goes pretty quickly but his memory is not getting any weaker for sure, so he's going to be in everyone's mind all around the world.

"His career has motivated so many young kids to be better racing drivers. He left a massive mark and it will always continue like that."

Lewis Hamilton may have wrapped up the Formula One drivers' title last time out, but he will have a personal milestone in his sights at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Mercedes driver Hamilton clinched his sixth championship and third in succession by finishing second at the United States Grand Prix, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas claiming the win.

Bottas will be seeking to break new ground in his F1 career with another victory at Interlagos, a circuit at which Red Bull's Max Verstappen has shown great pace in recent years.

With the help of Opta, we look at the standout statistics ahead of this weekend's race in Brazil.

 

11 - Hamilton has 10 wins this season and can equal his personal best of 11 in a single year with victory in Brazil.

2 - Bottas has won two of the past three F1 races but has never secured back-to-back victories.

4 - The drivers' championship has been decided at the Brazilian GP six times – more than at any other track. However, the title has been sealed before this race in four of the past five seasons.

15 - Kimi Raikkonen's 2007 success at Interlagos was the only time in the past 15 Brazilian GPs that a driver has triumphed having not started from the front row of the grid.

312 - Alfa Romeo driver Raikkonen will take part in his 312th grand prix in F1, joining Fernando Alonso in second on the all-time appearance list. Only Rubens Barrichello (323) has more.

6 - Mercedes will equal Williams' record of six successive pole positions at this race if Hamilton or Bottas qualify first.

33 - The Silver Arrows can match their F1 record of 33 podiums in a single season from 2016 by getting both drivers to finish in the top three.

9 - Ferrari have taken as many pole positions as Mercedes this season (nine each); the last time the Scuderia topped this ranking across a season was in 2008 when they secured eight, level with McLaren. However, Charles Leclerc will take a new power unit and is expected to receive a grid penalty of at least 10 places.

2 - Verstappen has recorded two of the past three fastest laps at the Brazilian GP, more than in any other race in his F1 career.

Lewis Hamilton struggled to comprehend his proximity to greatness after moving to within one of Michael Schumacher's tally of Formula One world championship titles.

Hamilton claimed his sixth global triumph with his second-place finish at Sunday's United States Grand Prix, the Mercedes driver taking an unassailable standings lead over team-mate and race winner Valtteri Bottas.

It marks Hamilton's third championship in succession and, at the age of 34, he is closing in on the legendary Schumacher, having moved one clear of Juan Manuel Fangio in the all-time list. 

However, an emotional Hamilton could not begin to contemplate joining or even surpassing the German at the summit.

"It was so far away. Now yet it seems so close, yet it is so far away that I still can't really comprehend," he said. 

"So the challenges that we'll face in these next coming months – next season, you look at the other teams that really have been putting some astonishing performances in in the second half of the season.

"It's going to take another load of incredible performances and work from myself and the other people around me and I really don't want to have to think about it right now."

There are still two races to go in 2019 and Hamilton would need to win both in order to beat his best return of 11 victories in one season.

Lewis Hamilton revealed he had been "battling demons" during a difficult year after claiming his sixth Formula One world title on Sunday.

The Mercedes driver finished second at the United States Grand Prix to win his third championship on the bounce, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas topping the podium.

However, the Briton dismissed suggestions his latest triumph had come easily, hinting at battles on and off the track during a year in which friend and mentor Niki Lauda passed away.

"No way has it been the easiest," he said. "It's been the hardest year for us and the team. We lost Niki this year, a crucial and pivotal member of this team. The emotional rollercoaster that we've been on with losing him, and I didn't have Bono [race engineer Peter Bonnington] here for a race.

"Outside of the car, just trying to remain focused throughout the year, that is the toughest – and I guess only other athletes at the top of their game can relate to it.

"Week in, week out – you can't drop the ball like I did [in qualifying], for example, and being able to bounce back from the lower days.

"This car has not been easy for us. We started the season going to Melbourne thinking we were going to be behind. At the mid-point of the season we were behind, it's been a real challenge this second half of the season.

"I think it's the toughest second half of the season that we've had as a team, fighting against Ferrari and Red Bull. We welcome that.

"But I don't know: every journey's different. Every year you go through a different roller coaster of emotions to get to where you're going and I wrote something in my post this morning that each and every one of us is struggling with something in life, whatever it may be – small or big.

"I tried to show people that from the outside things always look great but it's not always the case, and I'm also struggling with lots of different things.

"I'm battling demons and trying to make sure that I'm constantly growing as a person."

Lewis Hamilton has limitless potential to achieve greatness in Formula One after lifting his sixth world title, according to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. 

The 34-year-old came second at Sunday's United States Grand Prix to secure his third championship in a row.

He is now just one behind Michael Schumacher's all-time best tally of seven and Wolff suggested that honour could one day belong to Hamilton.

"I think he is still very motivated, and you can see he wants to win every single race," Wolff said in quotes reported by Sky Sports. "As long as that is the case, I think he can go for more.

"We need to provide him with a good car, and I think there is no limit, personally."

Reflecting on a season in which Mercedes have sealed their sixth constructors' crown with two races still to go, Wolff was bursting with pride as he celebrated the double success of Hamilton's glory and Valtteri Bottas' race win at the Circuit of the Americas.

"I'm very proud. I'm very proud for everybody who collaborated in the factories – there is a massive amount of work behind the scenes," he said following a race in which Bottas stopped twice and Hamilton once.

"When it ends up like this – one driver wins, the other wins the championship – the script cannot be any better.

"It was a bit edgy, but it was the last race for the championship, so you have to be flexible in your thinking. Lewis felt he could do a lap more, chief strategist Hamilton kept him out there and maybe that helped.

"You could see how close it was between a one-stop and two-stop [strategy]. We decided we want to let them race and I think that will be something we carry over into next year."

Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is on his way to becoming the greatest of all time, according to former title rival Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton was crowned champion on Sunday after finishing second to Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the United States Grand Prix in Austin.

The Briton, who only needed a top-eight finish to secure the title, qualified in fifth place but was leading the race on lap 52 only for Bottas to make the most of fresher tyres and overtake him.

Hamilton has won three drivers' championships in a row and five of the past six, his run broken by former Mercedes team-mate Rosberg's triumph in 2016.

He is also now clear of Juan Manuel Fangio in the all-time standings and just one behind Michael Schumacher's record haul of seven titles.

Rosberg, who retired after being crowned champion three years ago, thinks the 34-year-old Hamilton could go on to become regarded as the best in the sport's history.

Writing on Twitter, he said: "Karting together who would have thought that we'd both be F1 world champion one day.

"And you? You've achieved it for the sixth time – on your way to becoming the GOAT. Impressive!

"My greatest respect – enjoy these moments and celebrate. Well deserved."

Appearing on Sky Sports, Rosberg went on to praise Hamilton for adopting a one-stop strategy that almost saw him claim an unlikely race victory.

"I need to really say – we saw all of Lewis' class today," he said. "He took the strategy into his own hands and made it a better strategy than the team gave him.

"Of course, it's a completely deserved sixth title, in amazing fashion."

Valtteri Bottas congratulated Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton following his sixth Formula One world title, although the Finn lamented his own fortunes this season.

Bottas took the victory at the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, edging out Hamilton but failing to prevent the Briton's championship celebrations. 

Hamilton only needed a top-eight finish to guarantee a third title in a row and jumped from fifth on the grid to complete a Mercedes one-two, moving one behind Michael Schumacher in the all-time list of world championship winners.

Reflecting on his fourth race win of the campaign, Bottas was pleased to add to his podium-topping tally but generally disappointed with how the year has gone.

"We had a strong pace so I'm very, very happy about the win," he told Sky Sports.

"It's the only thing I could really focus on and do this weekend to exert some pressure, but it was not enough and Lewis got the title.

"I wasn't quite sure which strategy was going to be the better one but luckily my pace was good so I could make that two-stop happen, which was not planned initially.

"Obviously big congratulations to him. I personally failed on my target this year but there's always next year. He deserved it. He had a strong season."

Lewis Hamilton was left feeling overwhelmed after winning the Formula One drivers' championship for the sixth time.

The 34-year-old finished second behind Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at Sunday's United States Grand Prix in Austin.

Hamilton, who needed only a top-eight finish to guarantee a third title in a row, qualified fifth on the grid but was leading the race on lap 52 of 56 until Bottas made the most of fresher tyres to overtake him.

Although he admits he would have liked to take the chequered flag, Hamilton described it as an "honour" to win the title and move to within one of Michael Schumacher's record haul of seven.

"It's just overwhelming if I'm really honest. It was such a tough race today," he said to Sky Sports.

"Yesterday was a really difficult day for us. Valtteri did a fantastic job so huge congratulations to him. Today, I just really wanted to recover and deliver the one-two for the team.

"I didn't think the one-stop [strategy] was going to be possible, but I worked as hard as I could. I'm full of so much emotion. It's an honour to be up here with those greats.

"My dad told me when I was like six or seven years old never to give up – that's the family motto.

"I was pushing as hard as I could. I was hopeful I might be able to win today but we didn't have it in the tyres, unfortunately."

With five drivers' championships from the last six years, many are predicting Hamilton will go on and beat Schumacher's record, and the Brit certainly seems to feel physically capable of continuing his career.

When asked how many titles he could win, Hamilton replied: "I don't know about championships but, as an athlete, I feel as fresh as can be right now.

"I'm ready for the next race. These next races we won't let up – we'll keep pushing."

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