Lewis Hamilton to race ‘until he is 50’ as Mercedes win prediction dropped by F1 presenter
Sky F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham joked Lewis Hamilton will race until he is 50, though he may need to compete well into his 40s as she expressed doubts over Mercedes’ immediate recovery prospects.
Having enjoyed an extended period as Formula 1’s dominant force, Hamilton claiming six World Championships during Mercedes’ streak of eight consecutive Constructors’ titles between 2014-21, now both driver and team are experiencing a barren spell since Formula 1’s regulatory overhaul.
The introduction of ground effect challengers has seen Red Bull come into their own, the team having won a remarkable 21 of the 22 grands prix in 2023 as Max Verstappen and Red Bull comfortably made it back-to-back title doubles.
IMG. Lewis Hamilton has cut a frustrated figure at Mercedes in recent times.
Lewis Hamilton may need to race until 50
Hamilton finds himself in something of a race against time, as he searches for that elusive eighth World title which would put him alone at the top of the F1 mountain, the record of seven currently one shared with Michael Schumacher.
Hamilton has penned a new Mercedes deal until the end of 2025, but now at the age of 39, he knows he is closer to the end of his career than the start. Or is he?
“I think he’ll be driving until he’s 50,” Pinkham joked when speaking at the Autosport International event.
However, on a serious note, Pinkham was asked whether Hamilton can win that eighth title, which she worries could be beyond him due to circumstances outside of his control.
When the new F1 regulations were introduced, Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari all took very different routes, but after the 2023 season opener in Bahrain, Mercedes knew they had made a mistake with sticking to their unique ‘zero-pod concept’.
Mercedes are preparing to send a “more conventional” W15 into battle for F1 2024, but Pinkham fears Mercedes may be on the back foot to an extent that they need the next regulatory reset in 2026 to have a realistic chance of challenging for titles again.
“I hope it will happen,” said Pinkham in regards to Hamilton winning a eighth title. “The trouble is, I think that Mercedes have been a bit on the back foot with changing the direction of their concept.
“And I think it takes a regulation change maybe for them to come back to the fore.
“But look, we say, ‘Well, they were miles off’, [but] he [Hamilton] still finished third in the championship and Mercedes finished second, so not necessarily as far off, but they just didn’t look like challenging for a win in 2023.”
Last season marked the first time that Mercedes went a full season without victory since 2011.