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Lewis Hamilton set to change F1 retirement plan as Mercedes battle through "thick slog"

Mercedes' poor 2022 season may cause Lewis Hamilton to delay his retirement from Formula 1, the Brit has admitted.

The Brit is winless all season, and on the cusp of going through an entire campaign without standing on the top step of a podium for the first time in his F1 career. But a less competitive Mercedes car is to blame for those results, rather than any suggestion of decline due to his age.

Hamilton turns 38 in January and is in the twilight of what has been a remarkable career. His current deal expires at the end of the next season and, based on previous comments, that might have been when he was planning on stepping away from the sport.

"I honestly hope I’m not racing at 40," he said last year, adding that "there are so many things I want to do that it would be difficult". He did at that time, though, admit that his feelings on that subject might change.

And it appears Mercedes' struggles this year have sparked such a shift. Even though he has only one more season on his contract with the Silver Arrows, he appears determined not to leave the team until he has played his part in restoring them back to the top of the pile.

"Definitely, because it's going to take longer than one year," said Hamilton. "I think if we had just won last year and then we would win this year, definitely life would be in a different place and you'd be on a different course.

Hamilton wants to help Mercedes to compete for championships again before he retires (REUTERS)

"I love that it's gone through a phase even harder and we've got to pull through that thick slog and get to the point where we are a little bit lighter and we're floating a little bit more. So yeah, I would say that it's encouraged me to stay longer.

"Plus I'm feeling fit, I'm finding ways of feeling better physically. The mental challenge is a consistent thing and that will always be the case because that's how it is for us athletes, we're on the edge. But right now, where I am in life, I'm really grateful for the opportunity I have here. I like to think I still deserve a place here. So there is lots of work to do."

Mercedes' grip on the constructors' championship will come to an end this year. They have won the last eight titles in a row, but it would take a remarkable and unprecedented turn of events for Red Bull to throw away their huge 139-point advantage over second-placed Ferrari with just six races remaining this season.