Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard says that Lewis Hamilton could follow in the footsteps of his former team-mate Nico Rosberg and retire sooner rather than later.
Rosberg retired from the sport at the end of last year at the age of 31, days after he won his maiden world championship. Ex-McLaren and Red Bull driver Coulthard sees the possibility of Hamilton doing something similar.
"How long before he retires? It could be sooner than maybe we would all want," Coulthard told the Daily Mirror. "I would be surprised if he was still doing it beyond 35 because he started so young – I stopped at 37, but I started later.
"Like anything in life, to keep things fresh and exciting over a 10 or 20-year period is tough. He could ‘Do a Rosberg’ and walk away if he wins the title this season, absolutely.
"When things are going well, Lewis is the most recognisable face on the grid and there are moments when you see the pure enjoyment, the little boy in the man.
"As long as that light’s getting switched on from time to time, he’ll continue to show up and do it. But when the passion goes, you can fool others but not yourself."
Coulthard also said that Bottas can't be ruled out of this year's championship even though he thinks Hamilton is the clear favourite to win his fourth title.
"Maybe Hamilton’s met his match, though the evidence of Bottas at Williams suggests he’s not at the same level as Lewis.
“Remember, Peter Warr once said Nigel Mansell would never win a Grand Prix ‘as long as there’s a hole in my a***’, and Nigel went on to win a lot because he got an exceptional car, and became a world champion. Maybe Bottas is suddenly going to appear as this winning machine that nobody saw coming – including Hamilton."