Jenson Button does not believe it is time yet for his ex-McLaren team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton to consider retirement.
Hamilton made his first appearance with Mercedes back in 2013, a surprise acquisition for the team as Hamilton made the decision to leave McLaren.
Back then very few saw the logic in that move, but it soon became clear as Hamilton went on to win six Drivers’ Championships in the following seven seasons.
Add those to his first title with McLaren in 2008, and it means that Hamilton is now a seven-time World Champion, putting him level with Michael Schumacher, though an eighth is very much the goal.
But after Hamilton only signed a one-year extension to his Mercedes deal for 2021, it caused people to wonder if the Briton has plans to wrap up an eighth World Championship and then bid farewell to Formula 1.
But, Button believes it is far too early for his compatriot to be having those thoughts.
“It’s tricky, some of us like to leave at the top of our game, but he is going to miss this sport,” Button told Sky F1.
“It’s been his life forever, you really have to be ready to leave, and I know that.
“For a couple of years I was thinking about leaving F1 and then I left that [decision], and it was the right thing to do to stay for those extra couple of years.
“I don’t think he should leave F1, I think it’s too early for him, I think he can still achieve so much more.”
If Hamilton was searching for renewed motivation, then Button suggested he should look to repeat the Mercedes magic and build another team up to become champions.
“Maybe change teams, try something different? Build a team around him again and then fight for another World Championship,” he suggested.
But after Bahrain, Hamilton gave us a strong indication that he is not planning on leaving anytime soon.
With Max Verstappen now seemingly a firm part of the title fight, Hamilton has the competition that he craves, and warned that he is at his “peak” and ready for the challenge.
“Each year they’re talking about when you’ve hit your peak, and I think timing is everything,” Hamilton told Sky F1 after holding off Verstappen to win the Bahrain Grand Prix in style.
“I think I’m at that. We love the challenge, I love the challenge, I still love what I do.”