‘Lewis Hamilton will drive for Ferrari’
LEWIS Hamilton claimed his fourth world championship title at the Mexican GP, but what does his future in F1 look like?
The 32-year-old became Britain's most successful F1 driver on Monday (AEDT) after closest rival Sebastian Vettel failed to finish in the top two in Mexico City, taking the Mercedes driver above Sir Jackie Stewart's mark of three world titles.
Hamilton's present contract with Mercedes expires at the end of 2018 and his long-term future in F1 has been subject to speculation given his globetrotting exploits away from the sport and keen interest in music and fashion.
The Englishman insisted in Mexico he would still be around next season - saying it would be "easy" to copy former teammate Nico Rosberg and retire after winning the championship - and he is expected to sign a new three-year contract with Mercedes.
Sky F1 pundit Ted Kravitz believes Hamilton will see out another contract with Mercedes before replacing Vettel to fulfil his "dream" of driving for Ferrari and finish his career with the Scuderia.
"He wasn't so coy on his future when he was having a sly old dig at Nico Rosberg at the weekend," Kravitz said on Sky's F1 Report.
"I'm not so sure it's about how many titles will satisfy him, it's about seeing what he can do in the career that he's got left.
"He's 32 so he's got arguably another five or six years before leaving Formula 1 - I think he'll be bored of it by his 40s.
"I think another two or three years with Mercedes, which will take him to over six years in one team, and then he'll go and join Ferrari once Vettel goes off.
"He'll finish his career at Ferrari and win a championship at Ferrari."
In 2017, Hamilton has set a new F1 record for pole positions and moved onto 62 grand prix wins, while his fourth title has brought into the focus the prospect of him surpassing Michael Schumacher's hitherto-unthinkable record of seven world championships and 91 race wins.
Sky F1's Marc Priestley, who was a mechanic at McLaren when Hamilton first entered F1 in 2007, joined Kravitz in sharing his thoughts on the champion's future.
And he thinks that Hamilton will win as much as he can with the Silver Arrows before bowing out of the sport.
"I think he'll walk away from Formula 1 at the end of his Mercedes career," Priestley said.
"I think he's got music, he's got fashion, there is so much going on in Lewis' world that I think once he's done he'll walk away.
"If he only ends up with a year or two left of his racing career, is it worth going to a Ferrari that you don't know is going to deliver a championship? Do you fizzle out in a Ferrari or do you go out on top in a Merc?"