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.
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