There had been rumours that Lewis Hamilton could retire from Formula 1 after going radio silent on social media following his title heartbreak, but that talk has now been firmly put to bed
Mercedes have confirmed for good that Lewis Hamilton will continue his Formula 1 career, following speculation he could retire.
Hamilton missed out on a record eighth F1 title win last season in controversial fashion, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen beating him courtesy of a dramatic win in the final Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi.
Going into the race, both Hamilton and Verstappen were level on points and the Brit looked set to win the title after taking an 11-second lead with just laps remaining.
However, things changed dramatically once a safety car was deployed after Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed.
While Verstappen pitted to get a fresh set of tyres, Hamilton decided to stay on the track to ensure he remained in the lead.
AFP via Getty Images)
Following his pit stop, Verstappen remained in second place, but there were five lapped cars in between him and Hamilton.
Race director Michael Masi then controversially allowed just the cars in between Verstappen and Hamilton to unlap themselves, allowing the Red Bull driver to pull level with Hamilton before taking advantage of his fresh tyres to win the race and the world title.
Following his defeat, it was rumoured that Hamilton could be set to retire, with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff admitting the Brit was “disillusioned” with the sport due to the controversy.
But those concerns have slowly been put to bed and now Mercedes have confirmed he is well and truly back ahead of the new season – simply tweeting an image of the driver with the caption: “No44 is back.”
An inquiry into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been conducted by the FIA, who will disclose their findings in the coming days.
With Hamilton’s place on the grid now confirmed ahead of 2022, fans can look forward to seeing him renew his rivalry with Verstappen.
Hamilton will also be partnered at Mercedes by fellow Brit George Russell, who signed a long-term deal with the team to replace Valtteri Bottas back in September.
After signing his Mercedes deal, Russell said: “It’s a huge opportunity and one I want to grab with both hands. But I’m under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge; it’s going to be a steep learning curve.
“I’ve looked up to Lewis since I was in go-karts and the opportunity to learn from someone who has become a role model both on and off track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional, and a human being.”
Pick up tomorrow’s Daily Mirror and get a FREE £2 Shop Bet with William Hill which can be used on any of the sport action!
18 + Terms apply. See tomorrow’s paper for your voucher.