Hamilton says Alonso retirement is a real possibility
By Richard Martin
BARCELONA (Reuters) - 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.
Former double champion Alonso 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 has endured 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 team mate could quit the sport.
Asked if the Spaniard retiring was a "real possibility", Hamilton 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 Formula One to be someone anymore."
Nevertheless, Hamilton said he hoped the Spaniard 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," Hamilton said.
"It wouldn't be good for this sport and it would send out the wrong message. Formula One would not be the same if Alonso didn't continue.
"I still think he is one of the best drivers around, I've always said that," added Hamilton, who is bidding to win a third consecutive world title this season to add to his first triumph in 2008. Continued...