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Sport: Martin Brundle's 'gut feeling' on Lewis Hamilton retirement with Brit's future unclear

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There were huge doubts over Lewis Hamilton's future 12 months ago when Mercedes let their star man's contract expire at the turn of the new year. It took over two months for both parties to come to an agreement, which was uncomfortably close to the new season.

Hamilton only penned a 12-month extension, but that put to bed any rumours of him quitting F1 in the immediate aftermath.

The Brit went on to extend his contract to the end of the 2023 campaign midway through the season.

However, his future is back in the spotlight after the controversial title loss to Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton has not spoken publically since that eventful day and has unfollowed everyone on Instagram.

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The usually-vocal star may not fulfil his contract and return for the 2022 campaign, and 12 months ago Sky Sports' F1 expert Brundle explained when Hamilton will want to call time on his illustrious career.

Lewis Hamilton © GETTY Lewis Hamilton

"My gut feeling is he'll stop a year early rather than a year late," he said.

"He's not going to hang on until the bitter end for a few more dollars, or just to be a Formula 1 driver, and nor will he need to.

"He's obviously got other ambitions in his life, but I can't imagine why he would stop in the next five years, or certainly three. Why would he?"

Michael Schumacher retired at the age of 43 after winning seven world titles - but in his final year he finished 13th in the Drivers' Championship with Mercedes.

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Brundle does not reckon Hamilton will follow a similar path and continue racing when he is no longer challenging for the major honours.

He reckons the 37-year-old would rather step away from the sport while he is still dominating - but not before 2024.

"His eyesight, his reactions, nothing has fallen away," Brundle added on Hamilton in 2021.

"If you're going to start fading, you're on a gentle slope. And he doesn't appear to have started that slope yet.

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"Michael was in his 40s when he retired and he started making a lot of mistakes, and most of us did - you start having crashes at the end and you don't know why that happened. That's what it looks like Sebastian is to me, right now.

"Lewis has not got to that point, and nothing has been his match."

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