Lewis Hamilton Dismisses Rumors About Retirement amid Daniel Ricciardo, Mercedes Buzz

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 8, 2022

Marcel ter Bals/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton isn't intending to leave Formula One in the near future.

Ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton said he "[doesn't] plan on stopping anytime soon."

The comments come amid rumors regarding the 37-year-old's long-term status at Mercedes. The Daily Mail's Jonathan McEvoy reported the team has lined up Daniel Ricciardo as Hamilton's possible successor in 2024.

Hamilton signed a two-year extension with Mercedes in 2021, so the team could be in the need of a new driver after next season.

Meanwhile, Ricciardo and McLaren mutually agreed last month to separate following the conclusion of the 2022 campaign. With his status for 2023 in flux, he entertained the idea of being a reserve driver next year before returning to full-time status.

The 33-year-old said recently he's "pretty open-minded with any scenario" and that "there's pros and cons with all of it."

"But then also staying active is good," he explained. "That's why I kind of want to hear everything. Even if it's a reserve, I don't want to be too proud to say I'm too good for that."

According to a source who spoke with McEvoy, one hypothetical strategy for Mercedes is bringing Ricciardo on board as a reserve driver in 2023 and then an insurance policy if Hamilton leaves in 2024.

"Having Daniel in their camp means they wouldn't be left high and dry," he said. "It would also mean George [Russell] would be the main man from that point in 2024."

Of course, that plan is partially predicated on Hamilton retiring.

The seven-time champion was runner-up to Max Verstappen in 2021 but has gotten off to a tough start in 2022. The Briton sits sixth in the driver standings, which is on pace to be his worst finish to an F1 season.

As much as Hamilton remains committed right now, he could change his tune if his performance doesn't improve and he believes his days of contending for the Formula One title are over.


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