Hamilton’s possible farewell: Sabbatical or final curtain in F1?

Lewis Hamilton, the Formula 1 veteran who recently celebrated his 39th birthday, is keeping the door open for various future possibilities, including retirement, a sabbatical, or even a comeback. The seven-time world champion, whose contract negotiations last year culminated in a two-year extension until the end of the current rules era in late 2025, spoke candidly about his future in an interview with Dutch magazine Formule 1.

Reflecting on the fierce competition with Max Verstappen, who has started his own title-winning run, Hamilton offered words of encouragement: “I would say ‘keep doing what you’re doing’. He’s doing great.” Recognizing Verstappen and Fernando Alonso (42) as arguably the best drivers in F1 alongside himself, Hamilton commented on their shared trait: “We are all extremely competitive. We go to great lengths to achieve what we want.”

“I can’t say much about what they are like as people though. I only know them from the Formula 1 world – it’s not like I go and visit them.”

Hamilton, known for his competitive spirit, addressed speculation about his career’s endgame. “I’ve never said an eighth title would be the end point,” he said, smiling. His vision post-F1 remains open, as he contemplates life beyond the cockpit: “I don’t necessarily feel like I’d want to stay active in Formula 1, but never say never. But I can’t imagine not driving anymore and still being in the pit box somewhere.”

The idea of taking a break from the sport is not off the table for Hamilton. “I’d just be thinking ‘I could have stuck with it another year’. So it would probably be better to take a sabbatical and then see if I want to come back.” He referenced the paths of F1 colleagues like Sebastian Vettel, who has hinted at a potential return, and Fernando Alonso as well as Michael Schumacher, who took breaks and returned to the grid. Discussing the challenges athletes face when stepping away from their lifelong passion, Hamilton added, “They said ‘You lose something you’ve done all your life. Suddenly it’s gone’. I can imagine it’s an incredible hole to fall into.”

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