Lewis Hamilton 'considered retiring' before Sebastian Vettel battle

Lewis Hamilton, left, currently leads Sebastian Vettel in the race for the title. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton admits he considered retiring from Formula One, but says his current battle with Sebastian Vettel has renewed his motivation to stay in the sport.

Hamilton has won two of his three titles in the last three years and is in the running to become a four-time world champion this season. In June he broke Ayrton Senna's record for career pole positions and recently talked about attempting to match Michael Schumacher's win record of 91 race victories.

Although Hamilton has never confirmed it in public, he is believed to have considered retirement after colliding with former teammate Nico Rosberg at last year's Spanish Grand Prix. However, in an interview on ITV's The Jonathan Ross show this week, Hamilton said the current title battle had convinced him to remain in the sport for the foreseeable future.

"There's been talks about it [retirement] and I definitely have thought about it and there's been times when I've thought there's other things I want to do, but then we're in the heat of this battle right now and I'm loving it more than ever," Hamilton said.

"The training, all the work that you put into something, and then you get to really show your abilities. It's the greatest feeling ever so I'm going to keep going for as long as I can and see what I can do."

However, Hamilton has taken an interest in other activities away from F1 -- such as fashion and music -- so that he has career options when he finally decides to retire.

"When you're in Formula One you're in the spotlight, you're at the top of the world, then it's downhill from then on -- you don't earn the same money, there's not a huge amount of opportunities because you've been in that world for so long. I've been there since I was eight.

"For me at the moment, for these past five, six years I've really been trying to work on what I enjoy outside of the sport so that when I stop I can walk away and still have other things ... every year I'm always assessing the plan."

Hamilton currently leads Vettel by 28 points in the drivers' standings with six rounds of the 2017 season remaining.