In 2024, he says, “I’m training harder than I’ve ever trained. I feel the most physically prepared I’ve ever been. So I’m really excited about the present, knowing that nothing is promised beyond that,” he says. “But then it’s also conceptualizing, I have all these ideas of things I want to do beyond, in the next phase.”

“Honestly,” he continues, “I’ve manifested everything I’ve ever wanted to do. I do it every year. Working with Tommy. Winning a world championship. Breaking records. And so I’ve had some other plans for the future.”

Did you manifest the Ferrari move? I ask.

“Yeah,” he says. “I think perhaps more unconscious manifesting from the early period of my life. But it’s always been up there for me. For now, though, I’m gonna lift Mercedes as high as I can this year.”

“The way that I exist,” he continues, “I don’t look at it as on the way out. My commitment to the team is exactly the same as previous years: I want to kill every other team. We want to beat them. My approach remains the same, right till the end. And can’t let too much of my mind be distracted by what’s afterwards. You can’t really tap into that until next year.”

This final season at Mercedes comes during an unprecedented stretch for Hamilton, who has not won a race the past two seasons. Mercedes constructed a car in two consecutive seasons that has struggled. Red Bull and Max Verstappen have dominated. Hamilton wouldn’t be doing it still if he didn’t think he could compete for a world championship, he says, but we discuss whether the end of the 2021 season felt like a turning point for him in his career. The title that year was decided in the last race of the season, the last lap of the season, the literal last minutes of the season. After a surreal, improvisational ruling by the race director, Hamilton and Verstappen were cut loose to settle the title in one final sprint. But with Verstappen’s car in a clearly advantageous state (he had fresh tires), Hamilton’s fate was sealed before Go.

Were you robbed? I ask him.

“Was I robbed? Obviously. I mean, you know the story. But I think what was really beautiful in that moment, which I take away from it, was my dad was with me. And we’d gone through this huge roller coaster of life together, ups and downs. And the day that it hurt the most, he was there, and the way he raised me was to always stand up, keep your head high. And I obviously went to congratulate Max, and not realizing the impact that that would have, but also I was really conscious of, like, there’s a mini-me watching. This is the defining moment of my life. And I think it really was. I felt it. I didn’t know how it was going to be perceived. I hadn’t, like, visualized it. But I was definitely conscious of: These next 50 meters that I walk is where I fall to the ground and die—or I rise up.”

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