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Mercedes drop major Lewis Hamilton hints for 2022

Have Mercedes all but confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will be back for the 2022 Formula 1 season, despite the abundance of doubt throughout the offseason?

All Formula 1 offseason, there have been questions as to whether or not seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will continue competing in the sport in 2022, given how the final lap of the 2021 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was handled by race director Michael Masi.

The Mercedes driver lost what would have been a record-breaking eighth world championship on the final lap of the season at Yas Marina Circuit after a controversial restart, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen passing him in turn five of the 16-turn, 3.281-mile (5.28-kilometer) road course before going on to secure the race win and his first world title.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted that he wasn’t sure whether or not Hamilton would be back for 2022, noting that the handling of the end of the season left him “disillusioned”.

Hamilton went silent after the season ended, going nearly two full months without making a single post on social media.

But Hamilton broke his silence this past weekend with an image featuring the caption, “I’ve been gone. Now I’m back!”, and he has since shared additional images to his story.

Despite his return to social media, the 37-year-old Briton has still yet to say whether or not he will be back for a 16th season in Formula 1 and 10th with Mercedes in 2022, but Mercedes have effectively confirmed his return without officially confirming it.

They shared their own “I’m back.” post after Hamilton’s return, featuring the picture that Hamilton shared, and they also shared a picture of a Formula 1 trending image of “HE IS BACK”.

While Hamilton himself has still never specified that he is “back” to Formula 1, the Brackley-based team do seem to have indicated that his return applies to the sport as well.

Mercedes are set to launch their 2022 car, the W13, on Friday, February 18, and they shared two posts indicating Hamilton’s involvement in that launch.

Technically speaking, Hamilton really doesn’t need to “confirm” anything as far as a return to Formula 1 concerned, considering the fact that he signed a two-year contract extension to remain with the Silver Arrows through the 2023 season over the summer. So it’s not as though he entered the offseason without a deal in place to return, like he did last year.

With that being said, given what transpired at the end of the 2021 season and the uncertainty that followed, it would still make sense for him to make his plans clear to the public at some point before the 2022 season begins.

But does seem as though Mercedes have made things quite clear already, indicating that Hamilton has informed them that he isn’t going anywhere.

The 2022 Formula 1 season is scheduled to begin on Sunday, March 20 at Bahrain International Circuit, which is also scheduled to host the second preseason test session from Thursday, March 10 to Saturday, March 12. Set to host the first preseason test session from Wednesday, February 23 to Friday, February 25 is Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the host of the annual Spanish Grand Prix.

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