Lewis Hamilton has dominated the world of Formula One in the hybrid era. He has won six of the last seven world championships with Mercedes and has blown the competition out of the water with his racecraft, unreal qualifying pace and experience. With the Silver Arrows, Hamilton has broken virtually every record you can break in Formula One – he now has the most race wins (95), most pole positions (98), most podium finishes (165) and after the 2020 season, he also tied Michael Schumacher with 7 World Driver’s Championship titles.
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Hamilton was as dominant as ever in 2020, winning 11 of the 16 races he raced in and eventually finished 124 points ahead of Valterri Bottas in second place (after missing a race with Covid-19 too). Nevertheless, Hamilton ended the year without a Mercedes contract for 2021 and only agreed on a deal with the team in February. Hamilton had previously always signed multi-year deals with his teams but the contract signed in 2021 is only a one-year stint. This brings up a few interesting questions about whether Hamilton – now 36 – would bid goodbye to the sport post the 2021 season, especially with the young George Russell also on Mercedes’ radar and so too, Max Verstappen.
Hamilton has won everything there is to be won in the sport and is the favourite for the crown again in 2021. Another title win would give him eight World Championships and cement his legacy as the undisputed “GOAT” of the sport. 2022 also brings completely new regulations to Formula One which could allow the other teams such as Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren to finally end the Mercedes dominance and Hamilton may not want to stick around if he is not going to be leading the pack in the fastest car.
Hamilton understandably has other priorities now, which includes the fight for diversity and racial equality, especially after starting the Hamilton Commission in 2020 which aims to improve diversity in motorsport.
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Hamilton’s explained his motives for this year and his potential future in the sport during an interview after Mercedes’s car reveal for 2021. He stated “I’m kind of in a fortunate position where I’ve achieved most of the stuff I’ve wanted to achieve up until this point, so there’s no real need to plan too far ahead into the future. I think we live in quite an unusual period in life and [I] just wanted one year. We can talk about if we want to do more and keep adding one [more year] if we have to.”
Hamilton did not give too much away but it is difficult to see what his motivation would be to continue in the sport if he was to win the title again in 2021. The season starts on March 28th in Bahrain with the Silver Arrows as firm favourites to retain their crown for the 8th consecutive season.
[Image Credit: Lewis Hamilton]