Hamilton has remained silent since his brief post-race interview with Jenson Button in Abu Dhabi after missing out on a record-breaking eighth drivers’ world title in controversial fashion. Speaking after Mercedes elected not to formally appeal the dismissal of two protests, team principal Toto Wolff explained that both he and Hamilton were “disillusioned” with the sport at that time and went on to cast doubt over his driver’s return for the upcoming season.
Asked in a media briefing if F1 would underestimate Hamilton’s resolve were he to discount the possibility of retirement, Brown said: “I would be shocked if he stopped so I don’t think anyone should take for granted he’s coming back, which my personal opinion is he’s going to. “But I don’t think we should discount or not recognise his frustration, his anger.
“Maybe he hasn’t made a decision and maybe what he’s doing is taking time to make that decision to make sure, because once that decision is made, that decision’s made. “So I don’t think we should rule it out, or make light of it. I just personally think he still has a burning desire to race and that will ultimately drive his decision. But that’s just one man’s opinion.”
Hamilton “angry” but ‘wants to race’
To this point, Mercedes has only been able to offer ‘hope’ that Hamilton will race alongside George Russell this year with the seven-time champion remaining silent both in public and on social media. Despite this, Brown believes Hamilton’s competitive drive will push the former McLaren driver back into action.
Brown added: “He’s a racing driver. He’s at the top of his game. “Sure, he’s very angry but racecar drivers want to race. I think he’s a fighter and he’ll want to come back and win an eighth championship. I don’t think he’s ready to retire. “I don’t think he’s ready to hang it up. And I don’t think he’s going to let an incident put him into retirement.”