Retirement is something most athletes, businesspeople, or celebrities don't like to discuss while at the peak of their careers, but seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton isn't one of them. And with some of his contemporaries heading into retirement or seeing their last contracts come across the table, it only makes sense that he addresses the elephant in the room.
Speaking to the media after Sebastian Vettel's retirement announcement, Hamilton claimed that these declarations remind him that he's at a natural point in his career where people will wonder when he's going to retire. He went on to say that he will stop racing while he still has "fuel left in the tank," according to a report by Autosport.
“Before you know it, Fernando will not be here," said Hamilton. "And then, who was there after that? I’ll be the oldest I guess! But, no, it’s not made me think about that [retirement]. If I stop, I will still have fuel in the tank,” he added. “I don’t think I will go until I’m completely burnt out and have nothing left. But, hopefully that’s a while off."
Hamilton has a contract that's set to expire at the end of the 2023 racing season. And whether he's ready to retire or not, Mercedes will undoubtedly consider all of its options before resigning him for another year or two. Of course, this is not to say the team-driver relationship is fragile now—but many things could motivate either party to go in a different direction over the next year or so. For now, Hamilton remains committed to winning again.
“I’m thinking about how I can improve this car. I’m thinking about what the steps I need to take to get this team winning again, what is the road map to winning another world championship?" added Hamilton. “When I talk about fuel left in the tank, I’m still fighting for those things and still feel like I’ve got plenty to go in that.
“What are the steps we need to do to have everyone aligned in this sport to do more to start truly reflecting the work that we’re trying to do in terms of diversity? I’m thinking about all those things."
At 37 years old (will turn 38 next January), Hamilton sits right smack in the middle between Vettel, 35, and Fernando Alonso, 41. Vettel's somewhat early retirement was surely motivated by years of underperforming at Ferrari and Aston Martin, though the German says he simply wants to spend more time with his kids. Either way, good for him. As Hamilton has said before, the four-time champ is one of the few drivers on the grid who shares his outlook on life outside of F1.
“The work I’ve tried to do, what Seb’s been trying to do here–really igniting the fire of sparking conversations, to leave the place a better sport than it was when we found it,” said Hamilton. "I think Seb has definitely had a huge role to play in that and there’s still a lot of work to do, which I don’t know if Seb is going to do more work, continue on the work in the background with the sport or not."
Vanity Fair recently published a tell-all interview with Hamilton, sharing the champ's views on many subjects besides F1 racing. It's an excellent deep dive into his world; revealing everything from his new ownership stake in the Denver Broncos to his taste in music, fashion, and his relationships with friends and family.
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