Lewis Hamilton was subject of a prophecy from F1 icon Michael Schumacher

F1: Hamilton ‘shouldn’t be complaining’ says Ecclestone

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At the current time of writing, Lewis Hamilton’s F1 future is up in the air. Speculation has arisen suggesting the Brit could call time on his career in the sport after losing to Max Verstappen in controversial circumstances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yet he needs to return if he’s to live up to Michael Schumacher’s prophecy.

Hamilton was just one lap away from eclipsing Schumacher’s record of eight F1 titles.

Yet the Brit was beaten to this year’s title by Verstappen, with an incident involving a safety car helping the Red Bull star reign supreme.

Now, Hamilton’s future is up in the air. He was coy about returning to the grid in the immediate aftermath of the Abu Dhabi chaos, with the wounds clearly still raw.

But the 36-year-old simply has to return for at least one more crack at glory if he’s to live up to Schumacher’s prediction.

BBC Sport shared footage last year of the Ferrari icon talking about Hamilton back in 2008, long before a devastating skiing accident that changed his life.

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And, in the footage, Schumacher expressed a belief Hamilton would go on to better his seven F1 titles.

“I really rate him very highly,” he said at the time.

“Because what he has done, in such a short time since arriving and competing last year with Alonso and being very quick talks for itself.

“But then I’m always a little bit concerned when we talk about is he the best, is he not the best, is he better than Felipe Massa or not?

“I think you need to look at the circumstance. They’re not always very clear, from the outside.”

When asked if any driver could dominate, and asked specifically if Hamilton could, Schumacher said: “I would say yes.

“Records are there to be beaten.”

Hamilton matched Schumacher’s F1 titles haul last year, with the Mercedes star winning the seventh prize of his career.

So amid talk he could retire, there’s a sense he needs to return if he’s to live up to the German’s prophecy made all those years ago.

Nico Rosberg, who quit F1 after winning the title back in 2016, believes the Brit will do exactly that.

“It was heartbreaking for him, absolutely, because up until four laps from the end he was almost certain to be world champion,” he said.

“Then with this change of procedure or whatever you want to call it, suddenly he lost the world championship.

“It was tough, it was extremely tough.

“But of course I do count on him being back on the grid next year and fighting to get back that world championship that kind of got taken away from him in a way.”

Even Verstappen wants Hamilton to take to the grid again, despite the pair having a ferocious rivalry.

“I can understand being unhappy about what happened after the first few days,” he said earlier in the month.

“But you also understand that this is racing and these things sometimes happen.

“I think it even happened to him before (in 2008) so I think he knows that.

“I think Lewis should just look at what he has achieved. That should comfort him and encourage him to keep going, because he can still fight for the eighth title again next year.

“So I see no reason for him to give up or stop now.”

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