Former Formula One driver Jackie Stewart believes Lewis Hamilton’s title hopes are fading, as he is “looking towards the end of his career,” trailing Max Verstappen by 12 points with five races remaining.
Hamilton is looking to close the gap to the Red Bull driver on Sunday during the Mexican Grand Prix, at a track that favours the Honda engine over the Mercedes.
But with just five races remaining, Hamilton is running out of time to close the gap, with two unknown circuits still to come in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
But Stewart has been left surprised by the seven-time world champion’s pace, especially in comparison with his team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
“Lewis, of course, has driven extremely well, he’s a very talented and experienced driver,” said Stewart, speaking to Race Fans. “So I don’t think the fat lady’s sung yet. I think there’s still a chance for him to do it.
“But on the other hand, it’s always been surprising for me that his team mate, on many occasions, has been even faster. And I think at the end of the day he probably is looking towards the end of his career because he’s been at it a long time.”
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At 24, Verstappen is no rookie in the championship, with 136 Formula One race starts under his belt, 12 pole positions, and 55 podiums.
Yet the 82-year-old, who has three titles to his name, twice finishing runner-up, believes the Dutchman still has plenty to learn from the sport.
“He’s, I think, sometimes maybe a little bit over-driving,” added Stewart. “I think if he backed off a little bit, he would be even faster.