Hamilton: I want to end career as successful as Rossi

Lewis Hamilton hopes he has the luxury of seeing out his career at the top of his game like Valentino Rossi, after admitting he has put a time frame on how long he plans to stick around in Formula 1.

Hamilton: I want to end career as successful as Rossi
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Podium: winner Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Winner Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team on the grid

Rossi is the oldest and most experienced rider on the MotoGP grid, but that has not resulted in any drop in form, having delivered pole position and victory in Jerez last weekend.

The Italian's ability to be so strong throughout the twilight years of his career has been noted by Hamilton, who has talked about wanting to find himself in a similarly peak position for years to come.

"Valentino is towards one of the older riders now, but he still has the ability to be at the top," said Hamilton, speaking ahead of last weekend's MotoGP event.

"He still has the ability to do so, and so I hope that I am in the similar position towards the end of my career."

Sticking around

Hamilton has shown no signs of being weary of F1 yet, but still thinks that he will call time on his career in the early 2020s.

When asked if he ever thinks about retirement, he said: "I do. Generally when I think about it, I have this three-year contract. I am hoping that I have another three or four years after that."

However, he is well aware of how hard it is to pick the right moment to walk away – and says that more success in the future would only likely encourage him to stay rather than provide the perfect opportunity to quit at the top.

"We all are greedy, we always want more," he said about the idea of quitting immediately after a world title. "You know that you have just won the championship, you still feel healthy, you still feel fit. Plus you know that next year is going to be the same year, it is just going to be good.

"So you don't want to stop and give it to the other guy. You want to stay in and get it again. So, I think it is a very hard thing to do and I am yet to know that I have the maturity and strength to walk away from something that I loved since five years old. Only time will tell."

No other role

Hamilton has made it clear that when he quits driving, there is unlikely to be any temptation to take another role within F1.

He does concede, however, that there may be some temptation to return to racing in another category – or even that when he hangs up his helmet he is never seen in racing circles again.

"I can only imagine that I will have withdrawal symptoms when I take a year off at the end and I will probably still want to race, but who knows?" he said. "It could be completely opposite. I might not, I might just disappear for life!

"I think the goal for any athlete that is on the top of the game…but it is hard to know…it is like gambling, you don't know when to leave the table.

"When you are up, you up and then just one more [roll] and then you are down and you leave, and it sucks. Leaving at the top would be exceptional. But you don't know when you have the opportunity to…I don't want to stop now when I am up."

Additional reporting by Roberto Chinchero

Check out our Russian GP video preview…

shares
comments
Romain Grosjean "dreamed of Ferrari" but denies he wants a quick move from Haas F1

Previous article

Romain Grosjean "dreamed of Ferrari" but denies he wants a quick move from Haas F1

Next article

F1 business: Interview with Zak Brown - "F1 is exploding in costs"

F1 business: Interview with Zak Brown - "F1 is exploding in costs"
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Lewis Hamilton
Author Jonathan Noble
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals Prime

Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals

The tragic events of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix changed Formula 1 forever. Here, 17 of the drivers who took part explain how they coped with the devastating deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021