Lewis Hamilton will only leave Mercedes if he feels he has nothing more to give them and would rather see his “last days” with the Formula One team, the seven-time world champion said on Thursday.

Hamilton is out of contract at the end of the year and speculation about his future is already rife as Mercedes fights to regain its past dominance. However, Hamilton said he felt “incredible” about his future with the team.

“I still feel at home in this family,” he told reporters in Albert Park. “I see myself with Mercedes until my last days, to be honest. I have amazing allies within the team, great relationships here.”

“As long as I can continue to help push the team forward, really contribute … if there’s ever going to be a point where I feel like I can’t do that, it’s time for a young man to come in.”

Having won six championships through a golden streak with Mercedes, Hamilton failed to win a race last year, his first season without one.

Neither he nor his teammate George Russell scored a podium finish in this year’s season-opening races at bahrain and Saudi Arabiawith Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in third behind the two Red Bull drivers in each.

Mercedes said they got their car concept wrong and went back to the drawing board.

Hamilton described the current package as “a bit better” than last year’s car, which was prone to bouncing, but said it could take the whole season to extract the performance to catch up with Red Bull.

“I am aware that it can take a long time to catch up with the car in front,” he said. “If you look at the Red Bulls, they will continue to evolve.”

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