LONDON, UK (UOL/FOLHAPRESS) – Lewis Hamilton fell silent after the controversial decision on the Formula 1 championship and the lack of a firm response from his boss, Toto Wolff, during a press conference last week about the immediate future of the seven – the time champ sparked rumors of a possible retirement for the Englishman. But what are the facts and what are the speculations in this story?
Shortly after losing the championship on the last lap of the final race, finding himself exposed with old tires when restarting the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after the race’s direction had not followed all the procedures laid out in the regulations, Hamilton first told his track engineer, Peter Bonnington, that the race had been “processed,” and Bono responded that he was speechless. After all, that was how the team felt.
Shortly thereafter, he shared an interview with Jenson Button with each of the top three in the race, in which he congratulated Max Verstappen on the title and claimed he was proud of Mercedes’ work. When Patton asked him about 2022, he said he’s been feeling good over the past few months, but now he just wants to keep himself because of the pandemic, we wish you a merry Christmas and “we’ll see about next year.”
This was of course said in the heat of the moment, even before stepping onto the podium. When Mercedes soon decided to protest the race result, the team instructed Hamilton not to attend the rest of his press appointments.
The protest was eventually dismissed, based on an article giving the race director autonomy in deciding when the safety car should enter or leave the track, a decision that Mercedes had already registered its intention to appeal but later reversed?? Hamilton left the Yas Marina circuit in silence around midnight on December 12.
After that, he twice appeared in public, but without making any statements: he was officially awarded the title of Sir from the hands of Prince Charles, and then attended the farewell party of his colleague Valtteri Bottas at the Mercedes plant in Brackley, England. He chose not to attend the FIA Awards Ceremony held in Paris.
His last post on social media was the day before the Abu Dhabi World Grand Prix on December 11th.
But what fueled the rumors was the meeting with Toto Wolff on the day Mercedes withdrew its intention to appeal the rejection of its protest in Abu Dhabi. When asked several times if he could confirm that Hamilton would be part of the team next year, the Austrian was limited to saying his driver was “disappointed” with the sport and that he hoped “Lewis will continue racing, because he is the best driver ever times”.
Since then, directors, ex-pilots, and even Verstappen have come out publicly to say they don’t believe in retirement. “I don’t see any reason to give up now,” said the Red Bull driver. “Of course I understand that after a race like the one in Abu Dhabi, you are not going to be happy. But you have to understand that racing is like that and these things happen.”
His former teammates Patton and Nico Rosberg, who even announced his retirement days after he was a champion, surprised everyone at the time, followed along the same lines, speaking to British television channel Sky Sports. Button admitted: “I don’t know Lewis that well today.” “But I don’t see him leaving, especially after losing a championship.”
Rosberg admitted it was “very difficult” for Hamilton to deal with “this change in procedures, or whatever you want to call it”. But he also sees the seven-time champion return “to win that championship he stole from him”.
The opinion is the same as Stefano Domenicali, F1 chief executive. “I am sure he will recharge and come back with more passion than before he won his eighth title,” the Italian told Gazzetta dello Sport.
Hamilton has said on several occasions that isolating himself as the greatest title holder of all time is not his biggest ambition but rather to create platforms to generate opportunities for underrepresented minorities in Formula 1.
In this sense, Mercedes was providing him with support to enable the steps indicated by the Hamilton Commission in its first report issued five months ago, and this was a reason cited by the driver to renew his contract with the team, valid for the next two seasons, 2022 and 2023, in what is believed to be the last contract. For the pilot, who will turn 37 in January.
Contracts can be broken in Formula 1, and Rosberg’s example illustrates this. On the other hand, Hamilton’s career has been marked by overcoming difficulties and it is difficult to imagine, as his former teammates said, that a defeat, however controversial, would make him withdraw from the sport.
“Lifelong web fan. Incurable internet junkie. Avid bacon guru. Social media geek. Reader. Freelance food scholar.”