SIR LEWIS HAMILTON rode into the 2021 season and says he’s excited to fight for a record eighth world title.
The Mercedes ace, who picked up a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list, has the chance to become F1’s undisputed champion.
The Brit already has the most wins (95), poles (98) and podiums (165) but can move clear of the joint-record of titles he holds with Michael Schumacher.
But he faces a fight from rampant Red Bull, who look revived after the winter, and Hamilton says this season is not going to be a walkover.
He said: “I love what I’m doing and I arrive more excited for the season than I have for a long time.
“I’m excited to get going. We are going to have a really great battle one way or another. That’s what I’ve always loved.
“We are not currently the fastest…I can’t tell you, I’m so excited to have that challenge.
“Seeing some of the other teams close again is going to be great for fans and I love that collaboration with the men and women in my team and trying to get to our common goal.”
Hamilton juggled last season with fighting for a number of good causes and says he will continue to kneel before races to extend his commitment to ending racism.
He added: “I plan to continue to take the knee because what’s really important is when young children are watching, they see what we’re doing.
“When they see us taking the knee, they’ll ask their parents or teachers, ‘Why are they doing that? What are they taking the knee for?’
“It sparks an uncomfortable conversation. It means parents have to educate themselves and the kids.
“It’s a fight that’s not won, it’s a fight that will continue on for a long time I’m sure, but I definitely think we’re in a good time where conversation is healthy.”
Meanwhile, Sky have launched the new F1 season with an epic video charting Hamilton’s rise for karting whizz to seven-times world champ.