Lewis Hamilton’s intriguing comments on retirement ahead of Max Verstappen F1 decider

Hamilton v Verstappen: Their careers in numbers

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Lewis Hamilton is one race away from glory. Should he triumph over Max Verstappen at Abu Dhabi on Sunday, he’ll move out in front of Michael Schumacher with eight F1 Drivers’ Championships. However, if he loses, retirement thoughts may come to him.

Hamilton recently drew level with Verstappen at the top of the F1 standings with victory at a frantic Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

It means that, if he betters his 24-year-old rival in Abu Dhabi this weekend, he’ll move out in front of Schumacher in terms of the history books.

Hamilton signed a new contract with Mercedes earlier in the year that ties him to the Silver Arrows until 2023.

Yet while that’s the case, there’s been constant speculation over his future within the sport over the past 12 months.

Speaking in September, Hamilton opened up on Formula One and his current state of mind.

And the Stevenage-born Brit revealed he often thought about the issue, while suggesting a downturn in form would lead him to seriously consider it.

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“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.

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“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.”

Hamilton also suggested the emergence of newer talents, such as Verstappen, would also factor into any future decision.

“There are exceptional talents in the new generation,” he added.

“It is something exciting for the sport and for me it is fantastic because I can ask myself: ‘How can I handle the challenge of these guys?’

“They are not afraid of anything. I am in great shape, I like to watch them drive, I hope that I will still be able to deserve my place here, to be able to respond to them in the most effective way possible. I am focused on that.

“Looking ahead to next year, the performance of the cars is likely to be closer together.

“The races will be more intense, so driving skills can carry a lot of weight.”

He did seem to make clear, though, that he was relishing the challenge of staying at the top.

“And that’s why I want to stay in F1, because it will really be an opportunity to show my skills,” he said.

“I believe my spirit can help the team make progress, because I know what I need from the car and where performance needs to go.

“I hope to be important in this regard and to be part of the growth of Russell, who will be next to me.

“He is already very fast but he will surely learn from me because I have been in F1 for the longest time.

“And I will also be able to learn from him. I have no qualms about learning from someone younger. I have no fear, I just want to win.”

Hamilton appears committed to staying in F1 for the time being.

But defeat to Verstappen could represent the changing of the guard, something he’s clear he will factor any decision over his future.

Abu Dhabi could have more than just the title riding on it. 

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