What Next For Record-Breaking Hamilton
After victory at the Eifel Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has once again entered the record books and with his 91st Formula One victory now recorded, he equals the efforts of German legend Michael Schumacher.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 12, 2020
While it is another of Schumacher’s records that Hamilton will look to equal come the end of the year, as the quest for a 7th Driver’s World Championship edges ever closer and with races running out, the opportunity to be caught is now diminishing.
With six rounds of the 2020 schedule still remaining, Hamilton has a 69-point advantage over teammate Valtteri Bottas and with only 156 points left as the maximum return, you get the feeling crown number seven will arrive sooner rather than later.
Due to the projected form of both Mercedes drivers, the likelihood is that Hamilton clinches the 2020 accolade at the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday November 15th and of course, should Bottas fall to a mechanical error beforehand, this ascension could come around even quicker.
Before the Formula One circus returns to Turkey, there is a trip to Austin, Texas and the Circuit of the Americas and for all these events Bovada will be offering odds for each of them and of course, Lewis is on the list, as the British driving star looks to further accelerate his championship winning hopes.
Should Hamilton receive the chequered flag first, it will make him a champion in waiting and once he eventually equals another of Michael Schumacher’s racing records, the question is what next for the 35-year-old?
Because one should not forget that the Stevenage-born driver is out of contract at the end of the year and with no new deal inked as yet, there is an element of uncertainty regarding the former McLaren starlet’s next move.
A move that will have to come at some point and with the regulations to the sport staying put for another year, due to the budget issues that have been connected to COVID-19, he may well feel that the bridge to 2022 is one too far.
In a discipline where he has been hyper-dominant, it could well be that another year of the same regulations is not as appealing and therefore he bows out, while being recognized as one of the greatest ever pilots this motor racing discipline has ever seen.
Then again, it could well be that if the status quo is unchanged for next year in terms of regulations, what is to stop the Mercedes main man from racking up an eighth Driver’s World Championship and finally heading off into the sunset.
If Toto Wolff can tempt his prized asset into one more year in 2021, then the hunt for an elusive eighth title might be the perfect parting gift for both driver and manufacturer and whisper it quietly, then Formula One can truly blossom.
Because as good as the spectacle has been as of late, there is certainly scope for it to improve and this could come with the next generation of drivers, in what may only be described as the ‘post-Hamilton’ era.
Once Britain’s greatest ever race driver moves on, it will allow the likes of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to finally take what they believe is theirs and that is the rightful top spot on the annual end of year podium.
Of course, if there is a vacancy at Mercedes, it could well be Verstappen that they look towards in terms of a replacement, and when you couple this with Red Bull’s potential engine issues in 2022, a change may be even more tempting.
With Honda pulling out of the sport at the end of this current regulation cycle, it means Red Bull now must look for a new engine partner and the likelihood of becoming awkward bedfellows with former partners Renault.
This means performance issues could be rather pertinent for Red Bull and if a move up the chain can present itself to the son of former driver Jos Verstappen, it may be the ideal opportunity in which to take it.
It is almost as if Formula One is in something of a holding pattern until Lewis Hamilton decides that this global playground is no longer his and only until he passes the keys onto his younger contemporaries, can a new and arguably more exciting era begin.