Lewis Hamilton says he could race beyond 2023 as he is 'still on the mission'

Lewis Hamilton is sixth in the championship standings after a difficult first half of the season. Peter J Fox/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton has said that he could continue to race beyond 2023 and has added that he is "still on the mission" in Formula One.

Hamilton's contract with Mercedes expires next year and sits sixth in the championship standings after a challenging season, 112 points behind leader Max Verstappen.

There has been speculation that the seven-time world champion will retire when his Mercedes deal finishes, but Hamilton admitted he had thought about extending his stay in F1 in an interview with Vanity Fair.

"I'll be lying if I said that I hadn't thought about extending," Hamilton said.

"I'm still on the mission, I'm still loving driving, I'm still being challenged by it. So I don't really feel like I have to give it up anytime soon."

Hamilton, 37, also addressed the controversial finale to last season, when Verstappen beat the British driver to the title after race director Michael Masi's decision to allow only the cars between the two contenders to unlap themselves after a Safety Car was introduced.

"You see things start to unfold and my worst fears came alive," Hamilton said. "I was like, there's no way they're going to cheat me out of this. There's no way. That won't happen. Surely not.

"I don't know if I can really put into words the feeling that I had. I do remember just sitting there just in disbelief. And realising I've got to undo my belts, I've got to get out of there, I've got to climb out of this thing, I've got to find the strength. I had no strength. And it was one of the toughest moments, I would say, that I've had in a long, long time.

"I knew what had happened. I knew what decisions had been made and why. Yes, I knew that something wasn't right."