Lewis Hamilton has reportedly decided not to retire from Formula One despite rumours that the legendary Mercedes driver will quit following the devastation of losing the World Championship. Hamilton was controversially denied the title, which went to Max Verstappen, at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hamilton and rival Verstappen had incredibly gone into the final Grand Prix of the 2021 season level on 369.5 points.
The winner-takes-all event at Yas Marina would see either Hamilton crowned world champion for a record eighth time or Verstappen earn his first major honour. But the race culminated under controversial circumstances. Hamilton had led for most of the race but Nicholas Lafiti’s crash prompted a safety car to be deployed. Five lapped cars separated Hamilton and Verstappen and the FIA initially chose not to allow those drivers to un-lap. However, that decision was then changed and the final lap was started.
On fresher, softer tyres, Red Bull star Verstappen was able to overtake Hamilton and win the World Championship. Mercedes protested and then appealed the application of the rules but were dismissed at each turn. Hamilton’s anger prompted rumours that the seven-times world champion could quit F1. However, motorsport.com claim that Hamilton has informed Mercedes that this is not the case, and that he will be alongside new team-mate George Russell in 2022. Hamilton has a two-year contract with Mercedes.
Talk of Hamilton’s potential retirement was last week fuelled by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. He refused to rule out whether Hamilton would quit the sport and conceded that the 36-year-old may never get over the disappointment. “It is going to take a long time to digest what has happened on Sunday,” Wolff said. “I don’t think we will ever get over it, that’s not possible. Lewis and I are disillusioned at the moment.
We’re not disillusioned with the sport. “We love the sport with every bone in our body. And we love it because the stopwatch never lies. “But if we break that fundamental principle of sporting fairness and authenticity, then suddenly the stopwatch doesn’t become relevant any more. “Because we are exposed to random decision-making. And it is clear that you may fall out of love with a sport if you start to question, with all the work you have been doing, all the sweat and tears and blood.”
The Austrian added: “I very much hope that Lewis continues racing because he’s the greatest driver of all time. “We will be working through the events over the next weeks and months and I think that as a racer, his heart will say: ‘I need to continue’, because he is at the peak of his game. “But we have to overcome the pain that was caused upon him on Sunday, also because he is a man with clear values and it is difficult for him to understand how that happened.
“I just have to do the utmost that I can to help him overcome this, in order for him to return strong and with a love of the sport and trust in the decision-making of the sport next year.”