Lewis Hamilton warned he may have missed chance to surpass Michael Schumacher

Chances are wearing thin for Lewis Hamilton to clinch an unprecedented eighth Formula 1 world championship, and the joint-record-holder has been warned he may never best Michael Schumacher 's haul.

That's after the former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer suggested Max Verstappen 's maiden title earlier this month may herald the beginning of a new era of dominance for the Red Bull superstar.

Verstappen, 24, was crowned F1 champion after one of the most dramatic finales to a season, beating Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a late safety car rubbed out the latter's 11-second lead ahead of a final-lap showdown.

It denied Hamilton his chance to not only tie with Schumacher as the only other driver to win five straight titles, but more importantly the first driver in history to top F1's driver standings eight times.

And Palmer wrote in his latest F1 column that this could be just the start of Verstappen's own streak at the top of the sport, suggesting 36-year-old Hamilton may never reclaim his perch.


"As for Max, you wonder where he can go from here now that he has his first title under his belt," said Palmer.

"It’s worth remembering that when Sebastian Vettel took victory for Red Bull in Abu Dhabi in 2010, to become the youngest ever world champion, it was the start of a run four (sic) titles in succession for the German…

"Red Bull have been rejuvenated this season and are absolutely at one with their driver, giving him their full backing when questions were asked, and deploying every possible tactic to maximise the Dutchman’s efforts, as showcased by Sergio Perez’s heroics on the weekend as well."

Hamilton still has time on his hands to prove otherwise, with two years to run on his current Mercedes deal, which may not end up being his last with the manufacturer.

Speaking in July when Hamilton signed his contract, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff seemed assured this was "not going to be his last" in the sport, although the Briton has hinted he'd like to retire by the age of 40.

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That stance may change in the event he's failed to best Schumacher's all-time best tally of titles by then, and Verstappen is sure to be against the idea of giving his place at the sport's pinnacle.

"Had Verstappen not won this year, with his immense talent and determination, it would be inevitable his day would come at some point," Palmer continued.

"But with him winning now, you wonder what confidence he can take from it and where he can go.

"For a driver who has demolished three successive team mates in three years and made only a handful of small mistakes in that time, you question what scope their (sic) even is for improvement – but if he can take his game onto another level from here, we could be about to see the start of a new era of dominance."

The Dutchman has wasted little time in attempting to tighten his grip on the trophy, too, after he took part in testing at the Yas Marina Circuit just two days after his first F1 championship.

The mechanical aspect will prove crucial, too, given Mercedes have long been considered the technical standard in the sport, as was proved by their eighth consecutive constructors' world championship.

Many are of the belief Verstappen came out on top of the title chase despite driving what is perceived to be an inferior car, and closing the gap in that regard will be Red Bull's greatest priority this off-season.

Improvements are also on the agenda for Hamilton, who replaced Schumacher at Mercedes in 2013 after the German retired from Formula 1 at the conclusion of the 2012 season.

While there are legions of fans who already consider Hamilton the sport's greatest of all time, he'll be all too aware many won't even consider the notion unless he tops Schumacher's title mark before his racing days are done.

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