IS LEWIS HAMILTON SET TO RETIRE AT THE END OF 2018?
It was clear that the win getting away from Lewis Hamilton on Sunday's British GP really knocked the wind out of his sails. He looked almost a broken man when he stepped from his car at the end of the race, skipping the post race interview and heading straight to the podium room.
Hamilton has always been a driver to wear his heart on his sleeve, so his reaction is perhaps not that surprising. Was there more to it though? To me, Hamilton seemed to be more emotional than normal. My theory? Hamilton knows that this is his last year in Formula 1. This was his last chance of a win at Silverstone, and he missed out.
Let's start with Hamilton's trip to the volunteer campsite on Friday evening. He bought food and drink for all the marshals at Silverstone and then distributed it out himself. Now, of course this is not anything out of the ordinary. Hamilton is a very generous bloke and very grateful. This was a very generous offering though. There are a lot of marshals at Silverstone, many of whom have watched Hamilton throughout his entire career. Was this the beginning of his farewell tour?
The next pointer was his blinding pole lap in Saturday's qualifying session. It was a stunner. To be honest, I think the Ferrari was probably the quickest car all weekend. However, it was Hamilton's supreme skill that made the difference and gave him that pole. If you watch the lap, he is ragging the car. It is dancing through Maggots and Becketts, he really worked for that one.
When he stepped out of the car after quali, Hamilton knelt down beside his Mercedes. It was clear that the lap meant a lot, and had taken a lot out of him. Did he know that this was his last British GP qualifying?
Then we move on to the race. Hamilton has a slow start and is then tagged by Raikkonen going into turn 3. Lewis recovers brilliantly, but the win gets away from him. Immediately after the race Hamilton disappears to the podium room, kneeling down once again. He's clearly drained again and it's clear that emotions were running high. His comments on the podium about Ferrari's "tactics" were out of character, even for someone as emotional as Hamilton. He was clearly upset that he had lost the win.
The way I see it is that he knows that this could have been his last British GP. Maybe it's rash to say that he's 100% decided, but the dithering around his contract is also strange. I know there are formalities etc. but surely it isn't that difficult to sort if both parties want to sign? Perhaps Hamilton is still deciding whether he wants to be driving come 2019...
Of course, this is all guesswork. I'm not saying that I'm psychic or have the inside scoop in any way - I'm just calling it the way I saw it.
What do you think though? Let us know in the comments!