Toto Wolff drops hint on Lewis Hamilton future amid Formula 1 retirement claims

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton has another 100 races in him ahead of his 300th Grand Prix this weekend.

Hamilton, 37, is aiming to win his first race of the season in France on Sunday and celebrate a landmark occasion in style. He has never completed an F1 campaign without winning at least one GP and has just 11 races left if he’s to continue his superb record.

Many fans are speculating whether Hamilton will say goodbye to his Mercedes at the end of next season when his contract expires. He will be just a couple of months shy of his 39th birthday when the 2024 campaign draws to a close, a retirement age for many athletes.

Yet Wolff believes there’s nothing stopping Hamilton from carrying on. “We talked a few weeks ago about how long a partnership can go and the figure discussed was about five to 10 years, so I think we can go to 400 [races],” said Wolff after Saturday’s qualifying.

“Someone said you have to win the eighth [world title], so why not 10?”

No F1 driver in history has started 400 races. Former champion Kimi Raikkonen currently holds the record with 350 starts, while icons Fernando Alonso, Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher, and Jenson Button have all broken the 300-barrier.

Lewis Hamilton will make his 300th race start on Sunday

Lewis Hamilton will make his 300th race start on Sunday (Image: Getty Images)

Hamilton already holds the record for the most consecutive race starts (265), most races with a single constructor (189), most points (4,274.5), most pole positions (103), and most wins (103) – among many other records.

The Brit has won a record seven world titles, an honor he shares with legendary driver Schumacher. He was pipped to an eighth title last season when Max Verstappen, who is top of the 2022 standings, clinched the crown in controversial circumstances.

Hamilton will start the French GP on the second row after finishing fourth in qualifying. Charles Leclerc snatched pole ahead of Verstappen with Perez third on the grid. Lando Norris and Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate George Russell are on the third row.

“My last lap was great,” admitted Hamilton. “I finished it and thought that was an awesome lap but I was still nine-tenths of the guys ahead. “I am not sure why that gap has got bigger over these two races. They [Leclerc and Verstappen] are in their own league in that respect performance-wise.

“When we say we had updates to the car, we brought the tiniest thing, so it could be half a tenth, maybe a tenth if it worked perfectly. It’s difficult to really see it. I came here thinking last race we were three or four tenths off and I thought maybe this weekend we would maybe two or three tenths off but we have been a second off all weekend.

“I was happy with my lap and with my performance but they are in their own place. But we are still there so everyone behind me is struggling too so we just keep fighting.”

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