Lewis Hamilton is not ruling out following former team-mate Nico Rosberg into retirement at the end of the 2017 season, claiming it would not change his ‘legacy’. The three-time world champion’s current Mercedes contract expires in 2018, though he has previously claimed he envisaged signing one more contract in Formula 1 that would see him compete well into his late thirties.
However, speaking to the FIA’s official in-house magazine Auto, Hamilton admitted he didn’t think his standing in the sport would be affected if he were to walk away this year.
“My destiny is in my own hands. I can decide to stop at the end of this year,” the 32-year-old said. “Does that mean my legacy is less great than it would be if I stop in five years’ time? Who’s to say? I don’t like to plan for it because I don’t know what’s around the corner, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m never going to stop pushing the limits of whatever it is I do with myself and I’m always going to strive for greatness in whatever world it is that I’m in. So I think that mission or that mentality will create my legacy.” Rosberg and Hamilton were team-mates for four years at Mercedes before the German left at the end of last season after claiming his first world championship. Hamilton has also claimed he sees no major difference between the 2016 and 2017 cars apart from speed despite F1’s vast regulation changes. He did, however, admit he was thoroughly enjoying the ‘awesome’ competition the current season has brought, with the Briton just 12 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel after Ferrari’s improvement.
“Yeah, right now it’s solely on competition. It feels the same car as last year [but now] we’re just having a competition,” Hamilton added to Auto. “I want to enjoy my period of time because I think I’ve earned it here, but I don’t want to overstay my welcome because I know that every year that I stay there’s one young kid who may have had a chance to come through, but because I stayed his chance may have been missed.”