A fear of missing the competition in Formula 1 is keeping Lewis Hamilton from calling an end to his career despite a desire to work on other projects, he has revealed.
The Mercedes driver could be the third-longest active driver on the grid next year (though Robert Kubica could drop him to fourth) as he heads into his 12th season at the pinnacle of motorsport but also heads into what is currently the final year of his contract.
Talks are underway about a new three-year deal believed to be worth $120m and the newly crowned four-time world champion does want to stay on, but, after the retirement of Nico Rosberg almost exactly a year ago, questions about how long the 32-year-old has left continue to be raised.
“My thoughts about it change like the weather,” he said to Motor Sport Magazine. “It’s about trying to find the balance.
“I’ve currently got another year with the team and I do want to continue, but I’m at that point where there’s that nagging question; ‘If you leave are you gonna miss it? Next year, five years from now, you’ll miss it'."
It is well-known that Hamilton has goals away from F1, in fashion and music among others, but retiring from the sport would also mark a significant change in lifestyle which he admits can wait.
“I was talking to my best friend the other day about things that I look forward to, like living in one place, getting a routine, seeing my friends and family. Each year I stay in the sport I delay those things," he explained, "but from 40 onwards there’s so much time for it."
From experience, however, Hamilton knows the best-made life plans don't always work out.
“My auntie died from cancer and on her last day she said: ‘I’ve worked every day with the plan of stopping one day and doing all these different things [and] then I ran out of time’, so I have that in the back of my mind, so I do live my life day by day and try to live it to the maximum.
“That’s what I’m fighting with – I want to keep racing but I want to do other things too. I want my cake and I want to eat it.”
Lewis' approach to life even surprises some of his rivals, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen admitting recently: "When I see what Lewis does in his free time, I'm sometimes really perplexed. He does so much!
"It's his life and he wins races and championships so it's fine. You can hardly say it doesn't work for him," he added.
F3 World Cup - Motopark’s Dan Ticktum cl
Hamilton forced to clarify 'poor' India
Ferrari expecting 2018 loss to motivate
Ricciardo expecting his bad luck 'to dis
Hamilton could face Abu Dhabi engine pen
Sainz rejects idea Verstappen blocked 20
Haas concede defeat to Renault in race f
Honda hopes to 'accelerate' engine gains
Hamilton praises Formula E project but r
Sauber team up with Charouz to launch yo
Brawn: Simulations producing 'tangible'
Alonso hints at more 2019 announcements
Hamilton would add races in historic F1
Hamilton hoping for more battles with Ve
F1 CEO Carey does see path for new manuf
Red Bull don't 'condone violence' but 'd
Kubica & Ocon set to confirm Williams ro
Hartley frustrated by Gasly ignoring tea
FIA rule out changes to weighbridge rule
Bottas: Regularity of defending from riv
Verstappen 'still not able to manage his
Whiting: Hamilton/Sirotkin incident 'an
Whiting: Ocon 'wrong' to fight Verstappe
Raikkonen believes P3 the best he could
Ricciardo: 'Every time we start out of p
McLaren 'confident' Indy 500 plans won't
Red Bull call for Ocon race ban as Verst
Mercedes reveal Hamilton had 'failure im
Vettel gives Brazil race 'one out of ten
Hamilton tells Verstappen: 'You had more
Hamilton 'proud' of Mercedes as double c
Ocon claims Verstappen 'wanted to punch
Brazil GP: Hamilton inherits victory as
Ricciardo jokes 0.002s loss to Max 'more
Alonso & McLaren confirm Indy 500 return
Hamilton blasts 'disrespectful' Sirotkin
Vettel slams FIA weighbridge process aft
Brazil GP: Hamilton beats Vettel to pole
Brazil GP: Vettel sets new lap record in
Ferrari's Clear to have key Leclerc role
Hamilton says 25-race calendar would dri
'Realistic' Verstappen insists Red Bull
Red Bull reveal a Mexico marshal caused
Vettel expects Ferrari progress in Brazi
Williams offer Kubica 2019 seat but Ferr
Red Bull see race potential even if Braz
Brazil GP: Bottas pips Hamilton by 0.003
Brazil GP: Verstappen leads Vettel & Ham
Tyres and two-tier F1 to dominate driver
Verstappen: Mexico anger post-qualifying
Hamilton doubts Bottas would want F1 win
Alonso: McLaren optimistic 2019 car will
Ocon rejecting non-F1 offers to 'stay cl
Massa: Vettel 'more guilty' for 2018 tit
Hamilton to Leclerc & Gasly: 'No substit
Red Bull: 2019 front wings a costly 'sho
Sainz claims Schumacher name alone won't
Bottas: Hamilton's adaptability is his b
Force India: Signs point to Stroll being
Liberty want to 'preserve' classic F1 ra
Williams still getting over 'enormous sh
Hamilton doubts he would have recovered
Brazil step up security ahead of F1 race
Vietnam confirmed for 2020 F1 calendar
Studious Schumacher 'not as crazy' as Ve
Arrivabene: Ferrari still lack winning '
Ferrari CEO admits F1 budget cap 'makes
Mercedes target tyre woes and Constructo
Force India see catching F1's big three
Sainz has no issue with Renault over sig
Ferrari slam 'fake' Binotto rumours aime
Smedley confirms Williams departure afte
Sauber: Don't compare Leclerc to Hamilto
Two prospective manufacturers rule out F
Magnussen claims current cars leave F1 d
Red Bull: Immediate Gasly comparisons to
Vettel: 2018 Ferrari 'strong' but never
Webber fears Renault a threat to Ricciar
Hamilton: Bottas relationship as teammat
Magnussen: Haas should be 'proud' to be
Tombazis: FIA had to 'intervene' with 20
Zandvoort reportedly offered 2020 Dutch
Vettel wants himself & Leclerc to 'work
Mercedes: 'This is the best Lewis Hamilt
Ricciardo confirms participation in fina
Haas fail in bid to overturn Grosjean's
F1 bosses warn of 'step backwards' with
Hamilton believes Alonso made one crucia
Verstappen 'absolutely' ready as Red Bul
Hamilton: Monza victory a 'psychological
Horner: 'Only Daniel' Ricciardo knows of
Vettel 'past his peak' and lacks Ferrari
Mercedes praise Ferrari for 'gloves-off'
Hartley informed of Toro Rosso exit afte
Kubica to fill development role at Ferra
Verstappen's go after Ricciardo & Hamilt
Horner gives Renault rare credit after M
Hamilton could never consider himself Fo
Gasly questions Ocon's racing style afte
Mexico retirement 'hurts a lot' for Pere