Hamilton is potentially two races away from wrapping up a seventh world championship, which would see him equal Michael Schumacher’s all-time record just weeks after surpassing the German’s tally of the most wins in F1.
But he remains out of contract next season as he has not yet reached an agreement with Mercedes to enter a ninth championship together, prompting fears that he could be heading for the exit to pursue other interests.
Hamilton has repeatedly insisted that he wants to remain in the sport for as long as he can and will sit down with Mercedes to thrash out a contract extension in due time, but the longer the delay continues, the more fears rise that something may be going on behind the scenes.
In his biggest revelation yet though, Hamilton admitted that he is considering projects away from F1 that already have their wheels in motion, but insisted that he will be there to defend his title in 2021 so long as the final five rounds of this year’s championship - which begins this weekend with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola this weekend.
But despite the reassurance over next season, Hamilton admitted that his time will eventually come to leave the sport, and for the first time the 35-year-old admitted that it won’t be long before that point in his career arrives.
“In between this time I definitely think about what’s next,” Hamilton told Sky Sports.
“I’m working on different projects away from this, nothing that’s really big enough for me to talk about right this second, but I’m working on those other things whilst trying to be the best prepared I can be.
“I don’t think I’m at my peak, I think I’m in a good area for sure and I still want to continue to race but I don’t know how much longer that will be. It’s definitely not going to be a long time before I stop, so this is a period of time to slowly work out what the future holds. I can say I plan to still be here next year, so at least you’ve got a bit of time not to worry.”
With Hamilton poised to extend his terms with Mercedes for 2021 at the very least, the Briton will have the chance to break Schumacher’s all-time record with an assault on an unprecedented eighth world championship.
However, he hopes to do so in front of packed stadiums after admitting this season has taken its toll in more ways than one. The packed schedule required to complete a full world championship season - with 17 races in just 23 weeks - combined with the complete lack of atmosphere at races has Hamitlon feeling rather downbeat about this season, and it has helped him to realise what he will miss the most once the time comes to hang up the helmet for good.
“I hope we can get back into a normal season next year,” Hamilton added. “This one’s been so difficult, so compact and compressed as it had been, and I miss the fans.
“Sport isn’t really anything without the fans. It’s cool and all (in) these cars, but without those fans making this atmosphere that’s electrifying when they’re here, I really have to say that I’ve really missed them and I know that when I stop that’s the thing I’m going to miss the most.”