Jackie Stewart believes it is a “pity” Lewis Hamilton has not retired from Formula 1 already in order to preserve his legacy.
Hamilton is level with Michael Schumacher for the most world titles, and last year the seven-time champion narrowly missed out on making it eight when losing a controversial finale to eventual winner Max Verstappen.
This season, Hamilton is struggling in the Mercedes compared to previous campaigns, and sits sixth in the drivers’ standings – 34 points behind teammate George Russell and 98 points adrift of leader Verstappen.
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In Stewart’s opinion, Hamilton should have quit while he was ahead, and the former – a three-time world champion – believes the fashion industry would suit the 37-year-old.
“He’s now struggling a little bit because he’s had a new teammate [George Russell] who has been quicker than him in qualifying so far this year, which is going to be hard for him to handle,” Stewart told The Convex Conversation podcast.
“I think it’s time for him to resign. He’s got music, he’s got culture, he loves clothing and the rag trade would be absolutely suitable for him. I’m sure he’ll be very successful because he’s been earning a huge amount of money — rightfully so because he’s been the best of his time.
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“And that’s the best you can do. Juan Manuel Fangio, way back in the 1940s and 1950s, and [Tazio] Nuvolari and [Rudolf] Caracciola in the 1920s and 1930s, there’s always somebody up there, whether it was Jim Clark in the 1960s… Juan Manuel was the smoothest, bestest I’ve ever seen, I carried him to his final resting place.
Lewis Hamilton with Jackie Stewart back in 2015
Image credit: Getty Images
“[But] Lewis is in that group of the Ayrton Sennas and the Alain Prosts — or even the Jackie Stewarts maybe. He’s carried the sport very well. I’d like to see him resigning now. It’s a pity he wasn’t resigning at the top but I don’t think that’s going to happen now. But nevertheless it’s wiser to stop than go through all the pain of not being able to do what you did before.”
Hamilton is determined to help Mercedes turn their season around after a difficult start, and the Briton has enjoyed stronger finishes at the most recent Grands Prix.
After coming fourth at the Azerbaijan GP, Hamilton made the podium in Canada when finishing third, which was ahead of Russell.
“Just because we’ve hit a rough patch, it’s just not in my DNA to back out,” Hamilton said earlier in the season.
“We are still world champions and we can fix this. It’s just going to take longer, it’s going to take a painful year.
“I think, ultimately, this is going to be a painful year that we’re going to have to ride out together with belief that we can rectify it at some point, maybe through the year or even the worst case scenario, at least for next year.”
The next GP is Hamilton’s home race at Silverstone, which takes place on July 3.
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