For the last few years, whenever summer rolls around, many people within Formula One focus on whether Kimi Raikkonen will retire at the end of the season. This year, however, there’s another driver who has questions surrounding their plans for next season.
Lewis Hamilton is under contract with Mercedes-AMG Petronas through 2018, but recently told the FIA’s official magazine, Auto, that he thinks he could retire after this year without damaging his legacy in F1. The three-time world champion admitted he doesn’t try to make concrete plans for life after F1, though he plans to dedicate himself to whatever he does in the future the same way he did with racing.
“My destiny is in my own hands. I can decide to stop at the end of this year,” Hamilton was quoted as saying. “Does that mean my legacy is less great than it would be if I stop in five years’ time? Who’s to say?”
Throughout the first eight years of his F1 career, Hamilton’s main goal was to emulate the late Ayrton Senna and win three championships — a feat he accomplished in 2015. When he was starting in racing, however, winning three titles probably was such a lofty objective, he likely didn’t set targets beyond that.
Although he didn’t expressly state it in the interview, his reasons for retiring might be rooted in a lack of motivation. That assumption is supported by the fact that his attitude seemingly has changed regarding former teammate Nico Rosberg’s retirement.
Rosberg abruptly retired from F1 in 2016 days after beating Hamilton to the driver championship. Hamilton initially was noticeably frustrated that he couldn’t win back the title from Rosberg, but now apparently understands the German’s decision to walk away.
“I can empathize, and really understand in some ways, the feeling of wanting to stop and do something different,” Hamilton told Auto.
The Brit went on to note that he occasionally thinks about the next step in his career, but doesn’t give it much thought as he’s still at the top of his game. That said, his comments do make it seem increasingly likely that he could, as David Coulthard speculated in March, say “‘(Expletive) it. Thank you, I’m off,” and move on from F1.
Thumbnail photo via Mercedes-AMG Petronas
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