Lewis Hamilton Contemplates Sabbatical Before Deciding on F1 Retirement

British GP Hamilton (motorsportweek.com)

Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he is considering taking a sabbatical from the sport before making a decision on retirement. The seven-time world champion, who is tied with Michael Schumacher, expressed the idea that it might be beneficial to step away for a while and then evaluate his options.

Hamilton’s F1 journey has been marked by immense success, but recent challenges, including a contentious end to the 2021 season and Mercedes’ struggles in 2023, have led him to contemplate his future in the sport. Despite Mercedes announcing a two-year contract extension for Hamilton in 2021, he now suggests that a sabbatical could provide clarity on his desire to continue racing.

The driver, who has become the most decorated in F1 history, emphasized that the pursuit of an eighth championship is not the sole motivation for his prolonged stay in the sport. While he acknowledged uncertainty about what comes after F1, Hamilton expressed a reluctance to imagine not driving anymore and leaving the pit box.

Reflecting on the potential of taking a sabbatical, Hamilton highlighted its benefits, stating that it would allow him to assess whether he wants to return to competitive racing. The idea of a sabbatical aligns with the experiences of retired athletes who have spoken to Hamilton about the challenges of suddenly losing a significant part of their lives.

Hamilton’s comments also touched on the possibility of retired drivers making comebacks, citing examples like Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher. He indicated that he wouldn’t be surprised if his former title rival, Sebastian Vettel, chose to return to F1, considering the trend of retired athletes experiencing a void after leaving their sport.

The 39-year-old Mercedes driver will join his teammate George Russell and Team Principal Toto Wolff at the launch of the team’s 2024 challenger on February 14 at Silverstone. Hamilton had previously expressed excitement about the evolution of Mercedes’ W15 car in the wind tunnel for the upcoming season.