Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton and the team have been left “disillusioned” by events in Abu Dhabi and that they will “never get over” season finale; Hamilton signed a new two-year contract with Mercedes earlier in the season Mercedes’ team principal Wolff says Hamilton and the team have been left “disillusioned” by events in Abu Dhabi and that they will “never get over” season finale.
Max Verstappen, on fresh tyres, overtook Hamilton on the race’s final lap to claim the race win and world title after a controversial Safety Car restart procedure. On Thursday, Mercedes announced they had withdrawn their appeal against the race result. Hamilton signed a new two-year contract with Mercedes earlier in the season.
“It’s going to take a long time for us to digest what has happened on Sunday. I don’t think we will ever come over it, that’s not possible,” said Wolff. “And certainly not him (Hamilton) as a driver. I would very much hope the two of us and the rest of the team we can work through the events… But he will never overcome the pain and the distress that was caused on Sunday.”
Asked directly whether Hamilton, who turns 37 in January, would be back next year, Wolff indicated that was not a certainty. “I would very much hope Lewis continues racing because he is the greatest driver of all time,” he said. “As a racer his heart will say I need to continue because he’s at the peak of his game,” he added. “But we have to overcome the pain that was caused upon him on Sunday. He is a man with clear values.”
Wolff said both he and Hamilton will not attend Thursday night’s FIA prize-giving ceremony. Mercedes technical head James Allison would be in Paris to collect the trophy for the team’s record-extending eighth Constructors’ Championship. “I won’t be there because of my loyalty to Lewis and because of my own personal integrity,” he said