Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing
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Lewis Hamilton will return to Formula 1 next season despite his anger over last season’s final race, Martin Brundle has said. The Mercedes man is said to be still furious with the FIA after a controversial decision from race director Michael Masi helped Max Verstappen win his first world title on the last lap. In a special edition of The F1 Show titled Abu Dhabi: One Month On, Brundle was asked whether Hamilton and Mercedes could consider leaving F1 ‒ but was adamant in his response.
He said: “Absolutely not, I don’t buy any of it to be honest.
“I’m sure Toto has been asked by Lewis, ‘what are you doing about this?’ But Formula 1 is fantastically successful for the Mercedes-Benz brand, while Lewis is 37 years old and we know he’s driving at his peak, incredibly determined and competitive.
“He’ll be back.”
While Hamilton has enjoyed dominance at Mercedes since 2014, this hasn’t stopped speculation around his future.
In 2020, Eddie Jordan suggested Hamilton should make the move to Red Bull.
He said: “I personally believe Lewis should go to Red Bull and not to Ferrari.”
When asked in 2020 about the prospect of Hamilton joining Red Bull, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said “never say never”.
He added: “Never say never. I’ve seen crazier things in my life.
“But I don’t see why Lewis would do that.
“He has a very strong personal bond with the Mercedes brand and the team that he helped to create.
“At the moment we are giving him the best car and we have mutual trust in each other. We still have successful times ahead of us.
“I do not believe such a move for him would be rationally understandable.”
The Mercedes boss has also commented on Hamilton’s future this weekend, saying it would be a “disgrace” if the seven-time world champion didn’t continue in Formula 1.
Wolff told Kronen Zeitung: “I really hope we see him again. It would be a disgrace for the whole of F1 if the best driver decided to retire because of outrageous decisions.”
He added: “No matter what obstacle has been thrown at him, he has known all his life that he has to [do] his talking on the track.
“But it is incredibly difficult for him, until he has found a way between understanding what is right and what is wrong. That just takes time.”
The FIA’s investigation findings are set to be released just two days before the first race of the 2022 season, meaning the furore around last season’s finale is likely to remain a hot topic going into Bahrain.
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On the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Wolff added: “That will never be forgotten. Because what happened to Lewis was just wrong.
“He was unbeatable that day, until race control blew its fuses. They committed three violations of the rules. That’s just hard to understand.
“It will always follow us ‒ although Max Verstappen was a worthy world champion over the season. But that day, one was better than the other ‒ and they didn’t win.”
Despite the fortune that came Verstappen’s way, he has received many plaudits for his performances last season.
The Dutchman was praised this week by his former teammate Alex Albon, who lauded Verstappen’s mental strength.
He told motorsport-total.com: “More than anything, I was surprised by his ability not to worry.
“Mentally he’s incredible. He just drives the car and doesn’t think about the consequences or anything else that’s going on. That inspired me.
“If [Max] finished behind Lewis, he would say ‘okay, it doesn’t matter’. If he led a race or won a race, it was also ‘okay, whatever’.
“I admire that because it’s not easy to be in the limelight as much as he is.”
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