Lewis Hamilton retirement claim made by F1 chief in warning to Max Verstappen

Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing

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Lewis Hamilton will not retire and will instead return with “even more desire” next season, according to F1 chief Stefano Domenicali. Rumours about Hamilton have been rife following his heartache in Abu Dhabi, where the Briton missed out on landing a record eighth world championship.

Hamilton appeared set to take the 2021 title after dominating the final Grand Prix of the season earlier this month.

Title rival Max Verstappen looked to be out of the contest as the season-finale entered its latter stages.

But Williams’ Nicholas Latifi crashed into a wall late on and a safety car was deployed.

Verstappen changed his tyres during the delay, with Hamilton unable to do the same without losing track position.

And, stunningly, Verstappen was allowed to pull level with the Mercedes driver for a one-lap shootout after five cars between the duo were allowed to move out of the way.

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The Red Bull driver took advantage of his new wheels and stormed to race victory and his maiden world title.

Hamilton has apparently been rocked by the events in the Middle East and it is still unknown whether he will return to F1 next season.

But Domenicali has backed the 36-year-old to come back stronger.

“Lewis Hamilton? I’m sure he will recharge his batteries and come back with even more desire than before to win the eighth world title,” said Domenicali.

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Hamilton is now regarded as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all-time after dominating the sport for the best part of a decade.

The Stevenage-born ace had won the last four F1 championship before this season and six of the last seven.

But he now faces a battle with Verstappen to reclaim his place as the best driver on the grid.

Verstappen is F1’s shining light and has been backed for long-term success on the track.

Hamilton accepted his title defeat with dignity as he congratulated his rival following the season climax.

“Congratulations to Max and his team,” Hamilton said after the desert decider. “I think we did an amazing job this year.

“We gave it everything this last part of the season, we never gave up.”

But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has been unable to confirm that Hamilton will return in 2022 following this month’s disappointment.

“I would very much hope Lewis continues racing because he is the greatest driver of all time,” Wolff instead stated.

“It’s going to take a long time for us to digest what has happened. I don’t think we will ever come over it – that’s not possible.”

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