Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he previously flirted with the idea of retirement from Formula One, but his gripping battle with rival Sebastian Vettel has reaffirmed his love for the sport.
Hamilton endured a difficult season last year when he was pipped to the championship by his now retired teammate Nico Rosberg.
The British driver cut a frustrated figure for much of the previous campaign as controversies including his car’s mechanical issues and his relationship with Rosberg swirled around him.
“There’s been talks about it [retirement] and I definitely have thought about it and there’s been times when I’ve thought there’s other things I want to do, but then we’re in the heat of this battle right now and I’m loving it more than ever,” Hamilton said, per ESPN.
“The training, all the work that you put into something, and then you get to really show your abilities. It’s the greatest feeling ever so I’m going to keep going for as long as I can and see what I can do.
“When you’re in Formula One you’re in the spotlight, you’re at the top of the world, then it’s downhill from then on — you don’t earn the same money, there’s not a huge amount of opportunities because you’ve been in that world for so long. I’ve been there since I was eight.”
This year Hamilton has looked far happier in and out of the car and seems to be revelling in his fight with Sebastien Vettel for the world championship. With six races remaining, Hamilton holds a 28-point lead over Vettel in the drivers standings.
Hamilton also spoke of how his other interests away from the track help give him perspective and keep him busy for when he decides to step away from the sport. He has interests in music and film and last week he was spotted at London fashion week with Neymar.
“For me at the moment, for these past five, six years I’ve really been trying to work on what I enjoy outside of the sport so that when I stop I can walk away and still have other things … every year I’m always assessing the plan.”