Lewis Hamilton has paid tribute to the “awesome” Arsene Wenger after the Arsenal manager announced he would stand down at the end of the season.
F1 world champion Hamilton has been an Arsenal fan since boyhood and followed the Gunners throughout Wenger’s near 22-year tenure.
“I have always had great admiration for Arsene,” Hamilton said yesterday.
“For anyone to have commitment to a team and the loyalty which he has shown through all the ups and downs, through outside individuals saying positives and negatives, but to stay true to your values and continue to strive for what you believe in I think has really been awesome.
“Whilst the team has not always been the most successful, I really hope that he feels great about his time.
“I’ve had the privilege of meeting him a couple of times. He asked me to go and train with the team, which I have not managed to do yet, but he was always really welcoming and it was cool to meet ‘our team’s’ boss. I’ve supported Arsenal since I was five.
“I want to wish him all the best. I think his future is as bright as he wants it to be so I hope he takes the positivity out of all the great experiences he’s had.”
Hamilton’s own future at Mercedes has become a hot topic of speculation in recent weeks after an apparent delay in progressing contract talks with the Silver Arrows.
But Hamilton has brushed aside any concerns over the delay and insisted it remains just a matter of time before he re-commits to the team.
“I’m fully committed to Mercedes,” Hamilton said. “I have every plan to be with the team for the future so it is really about getting on with it. We were planning to do it after the last race but we had a lot on. I was not really around to meet – I had one day at the factory and then I was in China and then I was in the States. We will do it in the near future for sure, but it’s not a rush thing.
“I’ve made it very clear, and they’ve made it very clear that they want to continue so it’s quite an easy thing. I don’t think either of us have that personality to say ‘I’m definitely going to be with them next year’ and then not be with them next year so it is just about finalising and signing off.”