Lewis Hamilton says he is unsure whether he will want to still be racing at the age of 40, but is not yet “tired” of Formula 1.
The seven-time former World Champion will reach the big four-zero in January 2025, so has another potential two full seasons of racing in his 30s.
The Briton is contracted to Mercedes until the end of 2023 and could now be facing something of a crossroads regarding his future, given the way events have unfolded on the track in the last six months.
Firstly, Hamilton was denied a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ title in the most agonising and controversial circumstances in Abu Dhabi, and his hopes of setting things straight this season have been dashed by Mercedes not building as competitive a car for the new era of regulations as Red Bull or Ferrari.
Consequently, the 37-year-old is sixth in the Drivers’ standings, 75 points behind title-holder Max Verstappen and even 34 adrift of his new team-mate, George Russell.
But that, insists Hamilton, does not mean he has retirement on his mind.
Next stop, Baku ⏳ pic.twitter.com/eM2k4OoLDe
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) June 5, 2022
Asked during an interview with Corriere della Sera if he sees himself still competing at 40, Hamilton replied: “Tough question!
“Let’s take this season – I probably won’t win the title, but I feel the same pleasure in racing as when I started. Why should I stop?
“Maybe one day I will not be able to take the pressure anymore, I’ll be tired, but that day has not yet come.”
Unless Mercedes can dramatically turn around their fortunes, and then Hamilton can reassert himself against Russell, it is tempting to think the eighth title is becoming an increasingly distant dream.
But that is not the way the 103-time grand prix winner visualises the situation.
“Of course I believe that,” was his response when asked if he thought it remains possible to be World Champion one more time.
“I’ve been with these guys (Mercedes) for 10 years. I know how they work and the type of culture – no trials, we win and lose together.
“They are highly motivated. They give their souls to bring us back to the top.”
Asked if he thinks Verstappen or Charles Leclerc is more likely to come out on top at the end of the season, Hamilton replied: “So you take it for granted that we at Mercedes are doomed? Don’t underestimate us!
“Ferrari are stronger in qualifying and Red Bull in the race. But it changes with every race, and Ferrari have shown they know how to create a great car. And Charles is very strong.”