Former F1 driver Felipe Massa has questioned how long Lewis Hamilton will remain in F1, with the Briton looking unlikely to be challenging for the title this year.
Hamilton is yet to sign an extension to his current Mercedes contract which expires at the end of the year, though he has maintained that he remains committed to the team beyond 2023.
With 313 Grands Prix under his belt, the seven-time World Champion is statistically F1's most successful driver of all time, with a record 103 Grand Prix wins standing among countless other accolades.
Hamilton was joined at Mercedes last year by George Russell, with the younger Briton outscoring his illustrious teammate and taking the Silver Arrows' only Grand Prix win of 2022, prompting Massa to suggest that Russell's presence may be giving Hamilton pause for thought over his continued participation in F1.
"I don't know if Hamilton will choose to stop," Massa told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
"What is true is that, in Russell, he has for the first time found a teammate who can really cause him trouble. That only creates additional doubts as a Formula 1 driver."
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Hamilton struggling with motivation?
Having enjoyed almost unbroken success at Mercedes from 2014 to 2021, during which time he won six of his seven Drivers' Championship titles, Hamilton endured a winless season in 2022 for the first time in his F1 career, as Mercedes struggled to match the dominant Red Bulls.
The Silver Arrows appear equally far away from Red Bull once again in 2023, and Massa has questioned whether Hamilton would have the necessary desire to continue to compete at a lower level, adding that he may prefer to indulge his many interests outside the cockpit.
"It is not easy to find motivation when you have already won everything and drive a Mercedes that is struggling to reach the desired level," said Massa.
"At the beginning of his career, he was still like [Max] Verstappen and he only thought about racing 24 hours a day. However, Lewis now has many interests outside of racing."
Balve Baines is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the last week in F1.