Lewis Hamilton POLL: Should Mercedes star retire at the end of 2021 F1 season? VOTE NOW

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Lewis Hamilton’s Formula One future continues to be a hot topic – both his own and that of who will be his team-mate from 2022 onwards, with Valtteri Bottas battling George Russell for the other Silver Arrows seat.

Hamilton is searching for a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ Championship this season and heading into the Monaco Grand Prix holds a 14-point lead over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after three wins from the first four races.

It has been suggested the Briton might call it a day before the new rules and regulations come into effect for 2022 however, despite his continued success.

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff is understandably keen to tie his main driver down to a new deal, with Hamilton winning six titles in their last seven years together in the hybrid engine era.

The 36-year-old recently indicated he plans to be in the sport next year but added that he is spontaneous and that as a result anything could happen in regards to his future.

The four-time Indycar champion Dario Franchitti meanwhile thinks the huge pressure to remain at the top of F1 with Mercedes may impact whatever decision Hamilton makes.

He excluslively told Express Sport this week: “I think the problem is, any of these sports, at the top level the pressure is pretty horrendous, time pressure – all that stuff.

“It’s a pleasure, and I think you realise it’s a pleasure when you step away from it, but at the time you’re just under constant pressure, constant scrutiny, all that stuff – and Lewis maybe more so than anybody.”

While new F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali also recently said of the seven-time champion’s future: “For sure Lewis Hamilton is a great asset. He is doing an incredible job on the sporting side in terms of image.

“He was able to grow F1 in other areas which were not really specifically related to F1. But F1 itself is strong, and drivers, champions, are always in a place where one day they may retire.” 

Hamilton is still widely expected to stick around with Mercedes for at least another 12 months, which then leads to the question: who will be his team-mate? Bottas or Russell?

Recent reports have indicated Bottas could be usurped by Mercedes junior driver Russell midway through the current season, with rivals Red Bull having not been shy to make in-season driver line-up changes previously.

Bottas, Hamilton and Mercedes boss Wolff have all spoken out against the idea of promoting Russell from Williams to take Bottas’ place before the year is out.

But the 23-year-old has impressed with the British outfit although he has yet to score a point with them and stood in impressively for Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix at the end of last season.

And Russell is therefore a strong candidate to come in should Bottas continue to lag behind, with the Finn 47 points behind championship leader Hamilton with another 19 races to go.

But should Mercedes swap Russell in for Bottas alongside Hamilton before the end of 2021? Or should they stick with their current pairing?

At Express Sport, we want you to cast your verdict – should Hamilton call it a day at the end of this year? And should Mercedes boss Wolff perform a u-turn and bring in Russell for Bottas this season? 

Have your say in our latest weekly F1 poll – and tell us more about your opinions in the comments below.

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