New FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem made an unsuccessful attempt to contact seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has remained silent in the four weeks since his heartbreaking Formula 1 world championship defeat at the hands of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on the final lap of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit.
His only public comments since the controversial one-lap shootout after a late safety car period were made during his required post-race interview with Sky Sports in the immediate aftermath of the heartbreaking outcome. He hasn’t posted to social media since he posted pictures after qualifying on the front row alongside Verstappen the day before.
Hamilton, along with team principal Toto Wolff, even skipped the FIA prize-giving gala in Paris, France. Hamilton was required to attend, having finished the season in the top three in the driver standings, and may be penalized for this snub.
And now the seven-time world champion has failed to return messages from the new president of the FIA.
New FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who replaced Jean Todt after the 2021 season concluded, stated that he attempted to reach out to Hamilton, but his attempt to get in contact with the 37-year-old Briton was unsuccessful.
He had previously said that rules are rules and there can be “no forgiveness” if Hamilton was found to have indeed violated Formula 1’s sporting regulations by refusing to attend the prize-giving event.
Here is what he had to say about his attempt to contact Hamilton as the 2022 Dakar Rally began in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
“I’ve sent him messages. I don’t think he’s 100 percent ready to respond right now. We don’t blame him. I understand his position, as a driver, obviously, he is at a different level.
“But there are also rules. As you read in the press, the new president is going to sanction; of course, they [media] spice things up a lot with what is important for others. But for me it’s not particularly related to a certain driver or a certain team. It’s general. There are rules we have to respect, and we have to respect the integrity of the FIA.
“And I can’t judge anyone until I know the exact facts. In fact, my first objective is to go through the whole Abu Dhabi file. I think of course by not being at the gala, it’s something that Lewis and his team knew. But at the end of the day, we’re human too. There was stress and pressure.”
Clearly Hamilton still needs time to process the events of Sunday, December 12 in an attempt to heal from watching what would have been a record-breaking eighth world championship slip away on the final lap of an eight-and-a-half-month, 22-race season.
Hamilton indicated to all of us after the race that we probably wouldn’t be hearing from him before Christmas. Now that Christmas has come and gone, 2022 is upon us, and preseason testing is scheduled to commence next month, we should certainly know more than we know now in the very near future.