Formula 1 can expect the best Lewis Hamilton has to offer this season, with new W Series team owner Caitlyn Jenner saying the Mercedes driver is “going to want” to reclaim the title.
Until a few days ago, Formula 1 was not sure Hamilton would be back on the grid this season, the Briton said to be considering his future after losing the World title in controversial circumstances.
Hamilton had been leading the winner-takes-all Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by more than 10 seconds ahead of his title rival Max Verstappen when a late Safety Car, and Michael Masi’s decision to set up a final lap shootout, meant the seven-time World Champion finished second on the day and in the standings.
Leaving the paddock with a “we’ll see”, Hamilton was not heard from again until last Saturday when he announced on social media “I’m back”.
Later releasing a video of himself training with Angela Cullen, Hamilton is said to have also visited Mercedes’ Brackley headquarters as he prepares for the start of the 2022 season.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) February 7, 2022
Jenner, an Olympic gold medallist, reckons the Briton will be back more determined than ever.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 about her new W series team, Jenner Racing, she said: “I’ve met Lewis on a couple of occasions. When you meet somebody and you know them, all of a sudden you’re going to cheer for them.
“I talked to him a couple of weeks ago to find out his feelings on the W Series and what he thought about it when I was thinking about getting in.
“He was very positive, loved the idea.
“I said to him ‘thank you for making last season very exciting’. The years before that, when you win the series with three races to go, it’s not as exciting.
“As an athlete I have no problem with [Hamilton] dominating. Running the decathlon, I had no problem dominating.
“But I asked him ‘wasn’t there a year when you won it in the last turn?’ And he said ‘yeah, that was 2008’. This time he got beat on the last lap.
“But it was a great season and I’m really excited for next year with Formula 1, what Mercedes are going to do, what Red Bull are going to do.
“[Hamilton] is going to want to get it back and it’s going to be great.”
Hamilton will team up with George Russell this season, the 37-year-old vying for a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ Championship title.