Lewis Hamilton has been told to resign from Formula 1 one by double world champion Jackie Stewart, who says the Mercedes driver should not put himself through the ‘pain’ of continuing without being able to win.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton is the most successful driver in the history of the sport, and was aiming to challenge for a record-breaking eighth title in 2022 after missing out on last season’s crown to Max Verstappen in controversial circumstances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
So far this season, though, Hamilton’s best results have been third-place finishes in Bahrain in Canada with Mercedes unable to challenge frontrunners Red Bull and Ferrari for race victories. The 37-year-old is sixth in the drivers’ standings, 98 points behind leader Verstappen, and needs Mercedes to produce a significantly improved car in 2023 if he is to be able to compete at the top again.
After the furore over the Abu Dhabi race in December, Hamilton weighed up whether he should return to F1 at all, and now Stewart says the Stevenage-born star should move on from racing and take up one of his other passions professionally.
‘It’s time for him to [retire],’ said Stewart, 83. ‘He’s got music, he’s got culture, he loves clothing and the rag trade would be absolutely suitable for him. I’m sure he’ll be very successful because he’s been earning a huge amount of money — rightfully so because he’s been the best of his time.’
Stewart rates Hamilton among the favourite best drivers to ever raced in F1, but says it would be better for him to retire at the end of the current season than to continue if he is unable to challenge for further championships.
‘Lewis is in that group of the Ayrton Sennas and the Alain Prosts — or even the Jackie Stewarts maybe,’ Stewart told the Convex Conversation podcast. ‘It’s a pity he wasn’t [retiring] at the top but I don’t think that’s going to happen now.
‘But nevertheless it’s wiser to stop than go through all the pain of not being able to do what you did before. He’s carried the sport well. I’d like to see him resigning now.’
The 2022 F1 campaign will continue with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on the weekend of 1-3 July.
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