Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver to have graced the sport (statistically speaking), and has already started well in his quest to win an 8th world championship. However, his future always remains under scrutiny.

The British driver has often spoken about his love for the music and entertainment industry. That he wants to make a career elsewhere has led many to believe that he will call time on his career sooner rather than later.

Hamilton has confessed his love for racing many times, but he always reiterates that he has other plans for his life as well.

This coupled with the fact that he only signed a one-year contract extension at Mercedes this year has added further fuel to fire surrounding his exit rumours.

Former Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher has weighed in on the debate and has made quite a bold statement, claiming that Hamilton could retire as early as next season.

“We’ll say goodbye to Lewis sooner or later. Maybe next season,” Ralf told Sport1.

With a budget cap possibly introduced that will cover drivers’ salaries, it may make Mercedes’ job to keep Hamilton all the more difficult. Currently earning around $40 million annually, Hamilton will face a significant hit in terms of his salary if the proposed $35 million cap is introduced. If passed, this budget will need to be used to sponsor both drivers of a team.

Toto Wolff himself has recently said that George Russell is the future, which further points to the fact that the team is preparing for life without Hamilton.

“We’re all getting older,” Ralf said. The German also said that changes in restrictions combined with the fact that he was getting older means that continuing in Formula 1 is not the best option for Hamilton.

This season promises to be a lot more competitive than recent years. Red Bull has certainly upped its game and Hamilton will have a real challenge on his hands as he looks to fight off competition from Max Verstappen. Do you think Hamilton will quit the sport soon? Let us know in the comments section below!

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