Talk of Lewis Hamilton retiring from Formula 1 has been branded “just rumours” by new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. Hamilton was denied the world championship last month when Max Verstappen passed him on the last lap in dramatic fashion. However, the race result was controversial – race director Michael Masi allowed some lapped cars to overtake the safety car on the last lap giving Verstappen a free run on his title rival on fresher tyres. Hamilton was heard over team radio saying the race had been “manipulated”.
Since then, speculation over whether Hamilton could quit the sport has been rife, with Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff last month refusing to confirm the British driver will be back for next season.
Hamilton has been an integral figure for Mercedes during their dominant last seven years, but it seems Hamilton has also dreamed of driving for Ferrari.
In September, the seven-time champion admitted driving for Ferrari is a “dream for anyone” and a “goal to be achieved”.
He told Sky Sports Italia: “For many years, when I came to Monza, walking next to the fans… I could hear them saying ‘Come to Ferrari!’
“This warmed my heart, but it’s pretty amazing that I’ve never driven for Ferrari in so many years. Because it is a dream for anyone, a goal to be achieved.”
On why he has never driven for the team, Hamilton added: “It has never really been possible and I will never quite know exactly why.
“I wish them the best and in my near future I will continue to prevent them from winning the world championship.
“I’ve seen photos of their drivers and red is always red. I have a couple of Ferraris at home. I can drive those, but not the Ferrari F1.”
Hamilton also opened up on the idea of retirement, admitting that it does sometimes cross his mind.
He said: “That thought often happens to me. It’s like a wave.
“It comes and goes, there have been many occasions in the last four or five years when I didn’t know if I still wanted to try, sacrifice myself with training at the expense of personal life.
“There are other things I like to do. So many things I would like to try. But on the other hand I tell myself that I am so lucky to be doing this job.”
While Hamilton remains at Mercedes, the team are preparing for the future with new star George Russell.
The young Briton will join the team from Williams for next season, but the team’s chief Jost Capito has warned that Russell is “demanding”.
He said: “I think George has huge respect from all the team members and he is demanding.
“If he wants to get something done on the car, he really pushes [for it], and if he wants to get something done in the team he is pushing, but always in a very positive way.
“I never heard a bad word from him all year, still being very direct in what he wants and what he expects. I think that is a fantastic attitude of George.”