GUEST COLUMN: Lewis Hamilton is a Trail Blazer, will he continue?

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

By Carol M. Creasey

Last Sunday at Imola, Lewis Hamilton, after starting second on the grid, snatched his 93rd win in imperious fashion, by managing his tyres successfully and by capitalising when the safety car was deployed.

When questioned about his future at the Press Conference afterwards, Lewis admitted that there was no guarantee he would be in Formula One next  year. As his fans are very aware, he is out of contract at the end of the season, as is Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

Although Lewis shows no sign of having passed his peak performance wise, it is perfectly feasible that after 14 years on the F1 grid, he may feel that if he equals Schumacher’s seven drivers’ titles this year, and having already eclipsed him in pole positions and wins, he may decide to hang up his helmet.

But this year more than ever, Lewis seems to have an even greater hunger to win and appears to be enjoying every minute he spends in a racing car. He is continually striving for perfection and inspiring his team to help him on this journey, so would he regret it if he did retire?

Another route he could take is to sign for a year and, if he won the Drivers’ Championship next year, he could retire in the knowledge that he has set the new world record. But Toto has made it clear that he wants more from Lewis than just a one-year contract.

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If Lewis decides to sign for another 3 years, he will be 38 at the end of his contract, but still not the oldest driver on the grid. Currently we have older drivers, Kimi Raikkonen is 40 and Fernando Alonso will be 40 when he returns next year.

Another option is for Lewis to win his eighth championship and then drive for another team to finish his career. Only he knows if that is likely to happen. This year, in line with Formula One’s COVID-19 safety protocols, Lewis has had to live in relative isolation and hasn’t had the opportunity to spend time with Toto and talk about his new deal. However, he said he hopes to do this after the Drivers’  Championship has been sealed.

There are millions of devoted fans who are desperate for him  to continue, because in their eyes Lewis IS Formula One. Will he or won’t he? Maybe we will all find out after the Turkish Grand Prix or, if not, very soon after. There would surely be many drivers who would jump at the chance to leap into his seat before it’s even cold. But, when it does happen and whoever it is, they will have a huge legacy to live up to.

Be sure to follow Carol on Twitter @eagertogo and visit her website!

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