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At the current time of writing, talk of Lewis Hamilton potentially retiring has arisen. His coy comments in the wake of his defeat to Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi has led to suggestions the seven-time champion could have raced in the sport for the last time. But it all feels rather familiar…

 

 

 

Hamilton went into the deciding race in Abu Dhabi looking to move ahead of Michael Schumacher in the history books.

Yet the Brit was beaten in the end, with Verstappen overtaking him on the final lap to claim the coveted prize.

 

 

 

Mercedes unsuccessfully launched two appeals to try and get the outcome overturned in the immediate aftermath of the race before then conceding defeat, seeing the Red Bull star crowned as the sport’s newest champion in the process.

 

 

 

 

In 2020, Hamilton won the title. But there were multiple reports suggesting he was contemplating quitting at the top of the sport.

At the time, there were rumours circling that the Silver Arrows would try and replace him with Verstappen – who was emerging as a serious threat.

 

 

And when Hamilton did sign a new contract with Mercedes earlier this year, Mick Schumacher suggested it was only because Verstappen turned them down.

“For me, that extension mainly means that Max has turned down Mercedes,” Schumacher told Sport Bild at the time.

 

 

 

“I think Mercedes had put all their hopes on capturing Max for that cockpit, in order to fully secure their future.

“That idea is now gone, and in my eyes Lewis was the only alternative.”

 

 

 

There’s currently nothing to suggest Mercedes will try and poach Verstappen, especially given how much influence he has at Red Bull.

The 24-year-old has become the team’s first champion since the days where Sebastian Vettel dominated the sport.

 

 

 

But history does appear to be repeating itself again.

Hamilton retiring would be a huge shock, especially given how he’s still contracted to Mercedes until 2023.

 

 

 

It would also see him jump ship at a time where he’s so agonisingly close to beating Schumacher’s titles record.

And Nico Rosberg doesn’t think Hamilton will quit just yet, backing him to take to the grid again and try and reel Verstappen in.

 

 

 

“It was heartbreaking for him, absolutely, because up until four laps from the end he was almost certain to be world champion,” he said.

“Then with this change of procedure or whatever you want to call it, suddenly he lost the world championship.

 

 

 

“It was tough, it was extremely tough.

“But of course I do count on him being back on the grid next year and fighting to get back that world championship that kind of got taken away from him in a way.”

Rosberg also hopes that Hamilton and Verstappen serve up another classic next year, having been neck and neck throughout the entirety of last season.

 

 

 

 

“I do hope that Lewis and Max will go at it again next year,” Rosberg continued.

“Of course I’m not the guy to be saying that because I also disappeared into the distance after I won a title, so it really wouldn’t be fair to say that!

 

 

 

“It was just so amazing, those two guys.

“Lewis used to be – or is – the best wheel-to-wheel racer, and here comes Verstappen who is really taking it to him in wheel-to-wheel racing and sometimes even being better.

“It’s incredible to see their skill and to watch them go at it.

 

 

 

“They’re like on their own planet, they are well beyond everybody else, so I do hope we see it again next year.

“There are completely new regulations next year so there could be another team in the mix as well. So I think we’re in for another great season next year.”

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