Hamilton exit ‘depends on Mercedes’ – Verstappen
|Lewis Hamilton will race on as long as Mercedes has the superior car and he cannot lose|
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton will not retire or quit Mercedes while he has a title-winning car.
That is the view of Max Verstappen, who along with Red Bull-Honda has clearly targeted stopping Hamilton from winning a seventh title in 2020.
"Lewis is getting older, he's 35 now I think," Verstappen, 22, told Auto Zeitung.
"He won't keep going forever, at some point he will stop. But ultimately it depends mainly on the team, not Lewis.
"If Mercedes continues to build good cars with which he can be champion, why should he stop?"
Verstappen says he respects Hamilton, but he recently said the Briton is "not God".
Now, he adds: "Hamilton, Vettel and Leclerc are all great drivers. But they're all very different.
"Lewis is very, very good. I respect him as a very strong racer. But as a driver you depend a lot on your car.
"If Fernando Alonso had been in that Mercedes, he would have won. It is also about being with a team that can develop that sort of dominance."
Verstappen also weighed into the debate about the size of the F1 calendar, saying plans to expand the 22-race schedule to up to 25 should be scrapped.
"25 is clearly too many," he said.
"It would be better to focus only on the greatest circuits, the most historic, and have only 20 really good events."
As for the looming 2021 rules, Verstappen said that if predictions of cars that are up to five seconds per lap slower are true, that is "a lot".
"It may be too slow," he said. "This current generation of cars is so great to drive.
"But if the rules help overtaking and the general excitement, that's better. Too many races are decided at the start and not very interesting.
"I don't care what the cars look like. The main thing is that it's good racing."