Lewis Hamilton will likely remain in Formula 1 for two more years at least after his current contract expires, veteran paddock figure Tony Jardine believes.
The Briton is currently signed up with Mercedes until the end of 2020 after agreeing a new deal earlier this year and, after claiming his fifth world title this season, now has Michael Schumacher's seven championships and 91 wins in his sights.
However, given the well-known off-track interests Hamilton has and the rise of new talent like Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, retirement has often been thought of as a likely possibility in the not too distant future.
“I personally think that he’s one of the guys that as he gets older, he gets better," Jardine told the Express in disagreement.
"I just think at 35 [in 2020], that’s still absolutely fine [to continue]. You have to look at Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell, they were up into 38, 39. Mansell [was] 40.
“That’s a bit past it now and even [Michael] Schumacher was back in at 38.”
The former ITV pundit also points to one of Hamilton's mantras to dispell any thoughts of him losing the passion for F1.
“I still think he will be absolutely in his prime and his quote for me was, ‘I was born to race and win’. That’s what he does,” he claimed.
“No matter how much he loves his fashion and his music and all those other things, I think it would be a big chunk out of his life.
“So, in these two years, if things go really well, I can see him signing for another two after that.”
Another key factor will be the new regulations that Liberty Media are currently negotiating with teams, aimed at improving the racing spectacle in F1.
One thing that Jardine doesn't think is in Lewis' future is racing away from F1 ala Fernando Alonso.
“It’s easy to say, but trying to look into the old, big crystal ball and work it out, I just can’t see him going off and stopping,” Jardine said.
“And I certainly can’t see him going off, as much as he loves America, I certainly can’t see him going off and doing IndyCar or NASCAR or anything like that because they’re just not on the same level as Formula 1.
“Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport worldwide.”
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