Jackie Stewart Says 7-Time F1 Champ Lewis Hamilton Missed His Chance to Go Out on Top

·3 min read
Photo credit: Steve Wobser - Getty Images
Photo credit: Steve Wobser - Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton has one of the more amazing streaks going in Formula 1 history. It's also a streak very much in jeopardy.

Even casual F1 fans know that Hamilton came into the 2022 season tied with Michael Schumacher atop the greatest list of all with seven Formula 1 championships. The two are also tied atop what could be argued is an even more eye-opening list—most consecutive F1 seasons with a victory.

Hamilton has won at least one F1 race every year since 2007. Last year, Hamilton made it 15 consecutive years with at least one win to tie Schumacher's mark set between 1992-2006. And, not unlike the record of seven championships, the incredible record of 15 consecutive seasons with a win mark is starting to look like it's going to end in a deadlock.

The great Lewis Hamilton just doesn't look like a winner in 2022. And with the regulations in Formula 1 not changing significantly before 2026, the chances are increasing that Hamilton just might not make it back to the top of the podium.

Maybe it's time for Hamilton to gracefully leave the table. Maybe it's time for him to cash in his chips and let the pundits pen his legacy. Let the scribes argue for the ages over who had the better career between Hamilton and Schumacher, between Hamilton and Ayrton Senna.

Hamilton's resume' is going to be tough to beat: seven championships, 103 wins, 184 podiums, 103 poles. No one currently racing is touching those. Among active drivers, Sebastian Vettel is next with 53 wins. The best driver on the planet right now, Max Verstappen, has 26.

There's nothing wrong with Hamilton walking away.

Photo credit: Anadolu Agency - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anadolu Agency - Getty Images

Jackie Stewart, a three-time Formula 1 champion, agrees it might be time for Hamilton to call it a career.

"It’s time for him to resign. He’s got music, he’s got culture, he loves clothing and the rag trade would be absolutely suitable for him," the 83-year-old Stewart told the Convex Conversation podcast. "I’m sure he’ll be very successful because he’s been earning a huge amount of money—rightfully so because he’s been the best of his time. Lewis is in that group of the Ayrton Sennas and the Alain Prosts—or even the Jackie Stewarts maybe."

Stewart was one of those all-time greats who went out on top. He retired from Formula 1 following his 1973 championship. Stewart retired following a season in which he won five times and captured his third championship in a five-year stretch.

Stewart was just 34 years old when he walked away from the sport. There were undoubtedly those who thought he had plenty left in the tank, plenty of opportunities to add to his own legacy.

Enough was enough, Stewart said.

Today, Stewart says that Hamilton, who has managed just two third-place finishes in nine races to start the 2022 season, may have written the last chapter when it comes to wins and championships.

"It’s a pity he wasn’t resigning at the top, but I don’t think that’s going to happen now," Stewart said. "But nevertheless it’s wiser to stop than go through all the pain of not being able to do what you did before.

"He’s carried the sport well. I’d like to see him resigning now."