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Will Hamilton follow the example of these big names in Formula 1?

Will Hamilton follow the example of these big names in Formula 1?

23-01-2022 15:00 Last update: 15:39


One month from today, the pre-season test will start at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. In the meantime, question marks regarding Lewis Hamilton are increasing. Will he retire or will he start at the Bahrain Grand Prix? Should he choose the first option, the Brit is not the first Formula 1 driver to leave the sport after a controversial moment. These big names went before him.

Jackie Stewart

Sir Jackie Stewart was on his way to his third world title in 1973 when a tragedy suddenly put an end to his Formula One ambitions. On the penultimate weekend of the season, his Tyrell teammate and protégé Francois Cevert was killed. The Scot immediately withdrew and thus missed his 100th Grand Prix, which should have been his last. However, it did not stop him from winning his third title.

Nigel Mansell

Unlike Jackie Stewart, Mansell's departure was not entirely his own choice. The Brit finally won his first championship with Williams in 1992, but would not return the following season. Williams, which were the dominant team at the time, contracted Alain Prost for the 1993 season. The British racing team had failed to inform Mansell of this however, causing an irreparable rift. The World Champion called it quits and switched to the IndyCar series, where he won the title that same year.

Alain Prost

After taking a sabbatical in 1992 (he was dismissed from Ferrari after openly criticising the team), Alain Prost returned to Williams in 1993. He signed with the team on one condition: Ayrton Senna would not be welcome. However, that clause was only valid for one year. Prost became champion in 1993, but with the knowledge that arch-rival Senna would be coming to Williams the following year, the Frenchman saw no way out. He chose not to defend his title and retired.

Nico Rosberg

The most recent example so far came in the form of Nico Rosberg. After a few years of losing out to teammate Lewis Hamilton, the German thought enough was enough. He took his chance in 2016 and defeated Hamilton in the battle for the world title. Just days after securing his first championship, the Mercedes driver came with a shocking announcement: despite his ongoing contract, he would retire as an F1 driver. He had fulfilled his dream and wanted to stop at his peak.

Will Hamilton follow the example of his predecessors?

Hamilton is currently in a similar situation to his predecessors, the difference being that he does not have a world title to defend. However, it is expected that the defeat against Max Verstappen will actually provide extra motivation in his decision to return. In addition, there is a significant chance that he will have winning material with Mercedes.

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