Lewis Hamilton’s F1 future is currently up in the air. Though the Brit insisted he’d be back next year, speculation has arisen that he could be about to quit the sport. Especially with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff confirming they’d talked about the issue recently
Last weekend, Hamilton stepped out in sunny Abu Dhabi looking to write his name into the history books. If he won, he’d move ahead of Michael Schumacher with eight F1 titles – one more than the Ferrari icon.
However, though Hamilton led for the majority of the race, the 36-year-old was beaten to the prize by Max Verstappen on the final lap.
Mercedes tried to get the result of the race overturned, launching two separate protests on the day, but Verstappen has since been confirmed as the sport’s newest champion. Speaking after the race, Hamilton insisted he’d be back. There was, however, some doubt within his words. “We’ll see about next year,” he said. Earlier this year, Wolff confirmed he and Hamilton had talked about retirement in the future. He said: “I think he knows pretty well how he feels about racing. That passion burns strongly. “In a way the tough championship has ignited even more fun with us to fight, and next year looks really exciting. “We talked about retirement and it’s always really important to have that flirt with retirement, but equally be in control of your own destiny.
“I think at this stage there is so much passion for the sport that I can see him going for a while.” But what about Hamilton himself? Well, in September, the Brit insisted he’d only walk away from the sport when results worsen and the hunger he feels starts to die down. “That thought often happens to me. It’s like a wave,” he said to Sky Italia. “It comes and goes, there have been many occasions in the last four or five years when I didn’t know if I still wanted to try, sacrifice myself with training at the expense of personal life. “There are other things I like to do. So many things I would like to try. But on the other hand I tell myself that I am so lucky to be doing this job. “In a rather long period of time, the career in the car becomes only a small part, there is a lot of time to retire. It is a question of finding the balance.
“I tell myself that if I am still hungry and I train like I was a boy, which I am doing, and if I still get great results and I’m still hungry…“If I find myself slower, lacking strength to train, and unmotivated, then I’ll know it’s time to stop.” With Hamilton missing out on glory by just one race, it’s unlikely he’ll choose to walk away now. He was, after all, a mere lap away from more success. And his former Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg doesn’t think he’ll retire, despite the uncertainty. “It was heartbreaking for him, absolutely, because up until four laps from the end he was almost certain to be world champion,” he said. “Then with this change of procedure or whatever you want to call it, suddenly he lost the world championship.
“I do hope that Lewis and Max will go at it again next year,” Rosberg continued. “Of course I’m not the guy to be saying that because I also disappeared into the distance after I won a title, so it really wouldn’t be fair to say that! “It was just so amazing, those two guys.”