Life couldn’t possibly get much better for Lewis Hamilton right now.
Fresh from winning his fourth drivers’ world title on top of a fourth straight constructors’ championship, the Brit and his team are leading the way in Formula 1 with authority.
With two races left to run, Hamilton can simply enjoy himself out on the track in Brazil and Abu Dhabi before looking ahead to 2018.
Despite his brilliant year, the 32-year-old has been unable to escape speculation over whether he will choose to emulate Nico Rosberg and end his career at the top.
Should Hamilton opt to follow suit, his decision would arguably be more seismic than that of his former Mercedes teammate.
The newly-crowned champion could propel himself even higher up the F1 ranks if he so desires, but the possibility of doing so largely hinges on how long he and his German employers continue working together.
Regarding his status beyond next season, talks to extend his contract beyond the end of 2018 already seem to be in motion.
"We spoke a few weeks ago back at the factory and said that we would be sitting down," Hamilton explained, per ESPN.
"It is quite an easy process for us. We already have something great in place and it is really just about extending it and enhancing it and working on what more I can do for them and vice versa. But I am pretty sure within the next month or so we would have time to have sat down.”
HAMILTON DISCUSSES RETIRING
However, in terms of predicting when he will eventually retire, Hamilton appears to be far less decisive.
"I'm enjoying driving more than ever," he told Sky Sports F1.
"Whether it's a few, a couple, or one [year left in F1], I'm still going to be here next year and I hope for a little time beyond that.
“There is a long life after Formula 1 and I don't want to make it any longer than it's going to have to be because this is the best period of time in my life.
“There are still great things beyond my Formula 1 career which I'm working on right now, but I'm enjoying driving more than ever.”
Hamilton has the obvious target of surpassing Michael Schumacher on the list of most Grand Prix wins, with 29 victories separating them in first and second place.
Even if scaling those heights proves to be too much of an ask, the prospect of battling with Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen in the coming years is sure to be challenging enough.
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