Lewis Hamilton has revealed he considered quitting Formula 1 in order to pursue interests outside of the sport, but currently has no plans to retire, saying he is “loving it more than ever”.
Hamilton, 32, is currently fighting for his fourth drivers’ title against Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, and leads the championship by 28 points with six races remaining.
The Briton enjoys a celebrity profile outside of the sport unmatched by any of his peers, and has interests in fashion and music that he has long expressed a desire in pursuing once his racing career has finished.
After winning last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton returned to Europe to attend the fashion week events in London and Milan before jetting to Malaysia next week to continue his championship bid.
Appearing on UK chatshow The Jonathan Ross Show, Hamilton discussed his future plans and admitted he had considered turning his back on F1 in the past.
“You try and go as long as you can. It’s not a sport you can go back to,” Hamilton said.
“When you’re in Formula 1, you’re in the spotlight, you’re at the top of the world – then it’s downhill from there on.
“You don’t earn the same money, there’s not a huge amount of opportunities because you’ve been in that world for so long. I’ve been there since I was eight.
“For me at the moment, for these past five, six years I’ve really been trying to work on what I enjoy outside of the sport so that when I stop I can walk away and still have other things.”
When asked directly if he was planning to retire soon, Hamilton said: “No. There have been talks about it, and I definitely have thought about it.
“There have definitely been times when I’ve thought there are other things I want to do, but then we’re in the heat of this battle right now and I’m loving it more than ever.
“The training, all the work that you put into something, and then you get to really show your abilities, it’s the greatest feeling ever.
“So I’m going to keep going for as long as I can and see what I can do.”
Hamilton existing contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2018 season, the Briton having made his F1 debut back in 2007.