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Roads end for Lewis Hamilton?

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After yet another Silverstone GP victory, and cutting Vettel’s lead down to just one point. Has Britain’s number one driver hinted at possible retirement at the end of this season?

Hamilton declined to rule out leaving the sport at the end of 2017 F1 season just hours after winning the British GP to close the gap to title leader Sebastian Vettel to just one point.

“I can’t really say what is going to happen six months from now,” said Hamilton when asked about his future in his post-race media briefing.

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When asked to clarify his remarks, Hamilton stressed: “I love driving and you could say it (retiring) is very unlikely, I’m just saying that you don’t know what frame of mind I am going to be at Christmas time. Hopefully it’s a really good one with a fourth title.”

But the Mercedes Driver also gave no indication that quitting F1 was on his mind.

“Apart from being with my family, the happiest moment I ever have is when I have the car on a knife-edge,” the three-time world champion said.

Hamilton was again asked about his future immediately after Sunday’s race, in the televised press conference.

“At the moment I’m loving driving,” Hamilton replied. “I feel like I’m at my prime. I feel like I’m driving better than ever and I’m loving driving with the team. So I can’t imagine…there is no current reason to want to have to stop.

“I’m still enjoying it and I still have a contract with the team for at least a year so I plan to see that out at the moment.”

“In terms of the contract and stuff, I can’t really say what is going to happen six months from now. All l do know is that I am loving racing and I really, really do feel within myself that I am driving better than ever. I think I may have said that in the past, perhaps with less conviction, but within myself I know that right now I am at my best. I want to stay there, so I will continue to prepare the best way I can – and only I know how to prepare myself.”

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And when asked to clarify his remarks, Hamilton responded with –

“I just meant that in life you don’t know what is going to happen. Right now I love driving. You could say that it is very unlikely, because I am always going to like driving and doing crazy stuff, I’m just saying that you don’t know what frame of mind I am going to be in at Christmas time. Hopefully it’s a really good one with a fourth title. Even if I do get another championship, it would never be a case of ‘now it’s time to hang up my gloves’. I will always want to win more even when I do stop. The focus at the moment is just getting that fourth.”

On Saturday, prior to qualifying, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had told news outlets: “We are having a really good relationship and talking about the future, albeit this is a very tough championship so we are concentrating on the weekends.

“Lewis is very much linked to Mercedes, and we love him as a driver, and I think the same for us is valid for him, we are going to try to find an agreement for the future.”

Talk of Hamilton quitting F1 also surfaced before the Azerbaijan GP when the 31-year-old was quoted as saying “my destiny is in my own hands. I can decide to stop at the end of this year”.

But when he arrived in Baku, Hamilton told reporters: “I don’t really remember discussing that. That’s not something I’m thinking about right now.”

Shaun Thomas

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