F1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart feels Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton should have retired while he was still on top of the sport as opposed to his current situation.
Hamilton got extremely close to winning his eighth world championship last year, but amidst controversy, was forced to see Max Verstappen lift his maiden title.
There was a lot of build-up to this campaign where it was believed Hamilton would come out with a vengeance and challenge for top honours.
However, this plan has been all but scuppered following difficulties with the Mercedes W13 that has seen it getting overshadowed by the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull.
This season has been even more disappointing for Hamilton given the success of George Russell, who made the move to the Silver Arrows ahead of the campaign.
Russell is the only driver so far to record top-5 finishes in all eight races and Hamilton’s struggles have looked even more pronounced in the light of Russell’s consistency.
Stewart retraces Hamilton’s humble beginnings
Stewart believes Hamilton should have retired when he was still ahead of the curve.
“He’s done extremely well,” Stewart said.
“He came from modest beginnings. His father had four or five jobs to afford his karting before Ron Dennis picked him up, because he was so good at karting, and took him into McLaren and got him to win grands prix. He’s very talented.”
“When it came time to leave [McLaren], it was his decision, not Ron Dennis.
“It was Lewis Hamilton’s decision to go to Mercedes-Benz because he saw the potential of what they had to offer.”
Stewart himself retired after winning his third world title in 1973 and feels Hamilton would be better off trying to make a career in another field of his interest.
“Hamilton us now struggling a little bit because he’s had a new teammate who’s been quicker than him in qualifying so far this year, which is going to be difficult for him to handle,” he said.
“But I think it’s time for him to resign.”
Stewart requests Hamilton to seek an alternate career
Stewart pointed to Hamilton’s various other interests and requested the Stevenage-born driver to explore these avenues.
“He’s got music, he’s got culture, he loves clothing, and the rag trade would be absolutely suitable for him,” he said.
“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 believes that although Hamilton missed a trick in not hanging up his boots earlier, he must do this as soon as he can.
“I would like to see him resigning now,” he said.
“It’s a pity he wasn’t resigning 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.”