Aug 31, 2016

    Hamilton: Alonso should race on and not retire


    FERNANDO Alonso's imminent retirement from Formula One is a real possibility, world champion Lewis Hamilton said, adding that he hoped the Spaniard would decide to carry on.

    The former double champion produced one of the surprises in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix by jumping from 22nd on the grid to finish seventh but, on the whole, he had another miserable campaign since returning to McLaren.

    In an interview with Spanish newspaper AS published on Monday, Hamilton called Alonso "one of the best drivers

    of all time" but admitted

    his former teammate

    could quit the sport.

    Asked if the Spaniard's retirement was a "real possibility", the Briton said: "Of course, it is. He's 35 and he's already earned enough money.

    "He has won enough races, he has enough experience and he doesn't need F1 to be someone anymore."

    Nevertheless, Hamilton hopes Alonso would go on.

    His contract with McLaren expires at the end of the 2017 campaign.

    "If he quit next year and I couldn't race against him again, that would be a shame, a real shame," he said. "I still think he is one of the best drivers around, I've always said that."

    Alonso is 11th in the drivers' standings on 30 points, 202 behind current leader Hamilton.

    He has not achieved a podium finish since 2014 and had a serious crash

    in March in the

    Australian Grand Prix.

    The Spaniard has previously brushed off suggestions that he could retire. In April, he reacted angrily to Sky Sports

    F1 pundit Johnny Herbert telling him he should quit.

    Last Thursday in Spa, however, Alonso floated the idea of ending his 15-year career in the sport

    next year due to recent changes in the sport's regulations.