Dutch racing driver Tom Coronel believes that Lewis Hamilton will consider retiring from Formula 1 if he picks up a record eighth world championship in 2021.
Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher on seven titles last season and can become the first driver in F1 history to reach eight this season.
Mercedes unveiled their new car, the W12 E Performance, on Tuesday and the 36-year-old will be favourite to win once again in 2021, with Mercedes a dominant force in recent years.
The Brit signed a one-year extension with the team over the off-season, meaning he is not committed to the team into the new regulations which are set to come into play next year.
Asked whether he thinks this will be Hamilton’s last F1 campaign, Coronel said that after eight titles he would have little else left to achieve.
“I’m sure he’s thinking about that,” he told Formule 1. “First and foremost: Lewis is a real racer.
“But this will be his toughest season ever, with 23 Grands Prix. Every driver has had a long season at the end. The question is: do you want to live or be lived? Boys like Lewis are being lived. I’m 48 and if I can race somewhere, I’ll throw everything out for it. Wedding, birthday: it doesn’t matter. But I can imagine that Hamilton is fed up with an eighth world title after the busiest year ever.
“With eight titles you are no longer Lewis Hamilton, but God. Then you are done. I don’t know why you would go any further if you broke all records. Contract negotiations with Mercedes have been difficult this year. You can see that both parties did not go in full.
“It’s very simple: Mercedes no longer needs Hamilton. There is no future for him there, except to transfer a lot of money to his bank account. Guys like Russell and Max, you can live on that for the next ten years.”