Hamilton is out of contract at the end of F1 2023, although the seven-time champion has reiterated his desire to remain in F1.

He’s the second-oldest driver on the grid at 38, heading into 2023 on the back of his worst season.

2023 Mercedes W14: Can they challenge for the title?

In 2022, Hamilton slumped to his lowest finish in the drivers’ standings - sixth - while he failed to register a pole position or victory.

While Hamilton’s season on paper wasn’t fruitful, he’s shown very few signs of slowing down, with several impressive performances during a difficult year for Mercedes.

"At 38, Lewis is obviously getting on in terms of years, but he remains as quick as ever," Hill wrote in his column for The Telegraph.

“And as fit. With the way the drivers look after themselves these days, and power steering in the cars, I don’t believe there is any physical reason he could not carry on driving well into his 40s if he was motivated to do so. Fernando Alonso is living proof of that.

“The question is, what is keeping him here? Is it just about getting that eighth title? Will he retire if he does it? Or is it because he wants to keep racing for the love of it? Personally I can’t see Lewis driving around in circles trying to pick off podium places, as Fernando has been forced to resign himself to.”

Mercedes look no closer to challenging Red Bull for the title in 2023, with their lack of competitiveness a potential reason why Hamilton may decide to retire early, according to Hill.

“Whatever the reason, Hamilton is out of contract at the end of this season,” Hill added. “And it is going to be fascinating to see his next move. While both he and Mercedes have been saying for months that he plans to carry on, the fact remains that with less than a week until the first race of the year on March 5, nothing has yet been announced. It begs the question, why?

“One possible explanation is that both sides are waiting to see just how competitive Mercedes are before committing to a new deal.

“If they start 2023 miles off the pace, perhaps Lewis will be less minded to sign a new long-term deal? Or perhaps it is the team who are dragging their heels? Lewis does not come cheap. He gives Mercedes a lot but he costs them a lot too. In George Russell they have a young driver who might be capable of delivering a title in the right car.”