Hamilton has no plans to leave but says Mercedes need 'bold decisions'
Lewis Hamilton has no desire to leave Mercedes but urged the team to make "bold decisions" to close the gap upon their Formula One rivals.
Having won the Constructors' Championship for eight consecutive seasons from 2014, Mercedes conceded their crown to Red Bull last year.
Hopes of reclaiming that honour in 2023 already seem to be dead in the water after just one race, with Mercedes adrift of Red Bull and Ferrari, while also falling behind Aston Martin.
Those disappointments have led to speculation regarding Hamilton's future, with his contract due to expire at the end of the season, and post-race comments in Bahrain added fuel to the fire – having told Mercedes to "own up" to their mistakes.
Hamilton has since admitted his words were not chosen wisely and, speaking ahead of Sunday's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, he expressed his commitment to Mercedes.
"In hindsight, it wasn't necessarily the best choice of words. Of course there are times when you're not in agreement with certain team members but what's important is we continue to communicate, we continue to work together," he told a press conference.
"I still have 100 per cent belief in this team. It is my family and I've been here a long time, so I don't plan on going anywhere else.
"But we all need a kick, we all need to get in. The proof is in the pudding; we've seen what the performance is and how people are extracting the performance. We've got to now start making some bold decisions, some big moves in order to close the gap to these guys.
"[Red Bull] will run away with it, most likely, this year, unless Ferrari can stop them, which we'll wait and see. But as I said, we're hopeful we'll be able to close the gap, but at that point it will probably be too late in terms of fighting for a championship, but we can still turn some heads."
Hamilton likened Mercedes' position to the one they found themselves in last year and, having seen the team improve slowly throughout that campaign, is optimistic of a similar response.
"We're in a similar mentality to what we were last year, where we're just working as hard as we can as a team, try to remain positive. Obviously it's a shock when you work out the car is not where you want it to be," he added.
"But everyone is working on the solution and I have 100 per cent confidence in everyone doing their job. You don't all of a sudden lose the ability to build great cars. We're just not where we need to be, where we want to be, and we have to keep working on it.