Hamilton rolls back retirement speculation

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Lewis Hamilton has said that he has no plans to quit the sport anytime soon.

The Mercedes driver was responding to media stories arising from quotes that he gave to the in-house FIA magazine Auto. The three-time world champion had said: "I can decide to stop at the end of this year."

But Hamilton insisted that he'd never actually intended to imply that he was nearly done with Formula 1.

"I don't really remember discussing that," Hamilton told Sky Sports News in Baku. "That's not something I'm thinking about right now."

But Hamilton didn't deny that he wanted to go out on a high rather than fade away as a spent force overstaying his welcome.

"The dream for a lot of sportsmen and women is to go out on top," he said.

But in case that raised comparison with his former Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, who quit five days after winning the 2016 world title, Hamilton balanced that by saying that he didn't wan to bow out prematurely, either.

"I guess you could then say a lot of people stopped before their time. I haven't decided whether I want to stop before my time, at the moment I don't plan to."

"Right now I'm very, very fortunate being in this team. I've got an amazing team around me and a great boss who enables me to have part time for other interests which keep me going."

Hamilton didn't deny that he had other interests outside of Formula 1 that he wouldn't be able to do until after he decided to quit Grand prix racing.

"There are many parts of what the season stops you doing," he said. "For sure there are things I look at and think, 'Geez, if I had the whole year there is so much I could achieve and so many things I could tick off the bucket list'.

"But then I'll look back and think I've not been racing a Formula 1 car. There is a time and a place for lots of different things. Prioritising is important and choosing the right times."

As admiring as he is of his current race team, the life-long Formula 1 fan in him couldn't allow Hamilton to completely rule out a move to Ferrari sometime in the future before he calls time on the sport.

"That's not something I'm thinking," he insisted. "At the moment all I think about is beating the Ferrari.

"But I've made it no secret I'm a huge fan of the team. A big fan of Ferrari and what they've achieved, in the history of motorsport and the normal world in terms of the cars that they make.

"Who knows what the future holds. At the moment I can't imagine myself being anywhere else but here [Mercedes]. I'm really enjoying the fight we have with Ferrari and admiring them for the strong competition."

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