Curious case of Lewis Hamilton: F1 superstar remains silent as retirement fears turn
Lewis Hamilton has disappeared from the social media realm, leading F1 fans to wonder if he will ever return to the sport
There are only 53 days until the start of the 2022 Formula 1 season with testing in Barcelona. But as it stands, there’s no guarantee Lewis Hamilton will take his place in the Mercedes cockpit.
A die most controversial finals of a Formula 1 season in history saw seven-time world champion Hamilton lose his chance to become the most decorated F1 driver in history.
With a U-turn remaining at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, FIA race director Michael Masi allowed the overtaken cars to overtake the safety car.
It wasn’t how an F1 fan wanted this championship to end, and the pain that could be heard in Hamilton’s voice on the radio as he witnessed the title snatched from his hands by Max Verstappen .
Few could fault Hamilton for wanting to escape as quickly as possible after being harmed by the sport he had participated in for the past 14 years.
Before that, he and his father Anthony congratulated the Verstappens on a phenomenal victory – a touch of integrity at a time when the sport was sorely lacking.
Still, it’s been three weeks since Hamilton left the track empty-handed – and no one has heard from the Mercedes star since, at least in public.
Fans, pundits and pilots genuinely fear they saw Hamilton in his racing suit for the last time.
So where is Lewis Hamilton and is he coming back to F1? Mirror Sport looks at the curious situation …
Silence on social networks
Those who follow Hamilton on social media will attest that the driver posts about his workout routine almost every day to his 26.4 million followers, whether it’s a jog through New York or a simple weight training session.
But since that race in Abu Dhabi, it’s a case of virtual tumbleweed. Complete radio silence.
His brother Nicolas Hamilton, a British touring car driver, sought to ease the spirits of fans by insisting that Hamilton was just taking a break from the toxicity that comes with being a celebrity on Twitter .
It certainly fits Hamilton’s personality profile. Although he is one of the most famous faces in the world, he enjoys spending time with his family, his dog Roscoe and recording music in his home studio.
As a spiritual person it can make it seem like this period of silence and withdrawing from the conversation will help them find their way to F1.
But the longer the social boycott of Hamilton continues, the more worried fans of the 2020 world champion will be.
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Fears of retirement
The inescapable fact is that no matter how well his age defies his driving on track, Hamilton will be 37 in a week’s time. No racing career lasts forever and if Michael Schumacher struggled to race in his 40s, anyone would.
There is no reason to doubt that Hamilton still has this passion for racing. But his profile away from the track allows him to keep enough busy without F1.
Hamilton regularly attends the world’s most glamorous fashion events, and he has also spent his time trying to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds find their way into sport through the Hamilton Commission.
Now that he has a new challenger to his dominance of the sport in the form of Max Verstappen, it wouldn’t come as a huge shock to see Hamilton stop.
The worrying aspect for fans is that Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff looked uncertain when he said he “couldn’t guarantee” that his star driver would return for the 2022 season.
If anyone is aware of his intention to retire, Wolff would be one of the first to know.
It’s already arrived ?
Not exactly, but Hamilton has a tendency to drag his feet on important decisions.
It wasn’t until last year that retirement rumors circulated around his future with Mercedes as his contract was set to expire. There were even suggestions he could make a controversial move to his Ferrari rivals, before Carlos Sainz replaced Sebastian Vettel.
It wasn’t until January of this year that Hamilton finally signed on to a new one-year contract. Oddly enough, he then extended his stay until 2023 just six months later, perhaps feeling content with life working under the German manufacturer.
What we do know is that this amazing pilot doesn’t run away from a fight. When he lost the 2016 title to Nico Rosberg, the German retired days after winning the crown, saying he knew he had accomplished everything he wanted in his career.
Hamilton could also have thrown in the towel after losing to his teammate. But he can use that experience of how he won four straight titles as inspiration to come back from his self-imposed exile.
Reasons to stay in F1
The popular opinion is that Hamilton cannot pass up his unique opportunity to overtake Michael Schumacher’s seven titles.
Even though purists insist Schumacher is still superior to Hamilton, the Stevenage-born runner has broken nearly every other record in the sport, such as most poles and race wins, shattering. the milestone of the century on both counts.
But winning the eighth title, in the 2022 season when new regulations bring cars closer together through technical and financial changes, would prove he’s the biggest to honor the sport.
F1 has arguably never been so competitive in the modern era of racing after a long period of Mercedes domination. And while it’s typical to assume that Hamilton wouldn’t want this to end, he commented on how happy he was to run so closely with Verstappen.
Verstappen only became the third driver to beat him in a direct title fight after Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen. But there are others emerging as well – Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly – who have shown their ability to exceed expectations.
Beating the next generation of drivers and making history in one fell swoop is surely too tempting for a man of Hamilton’s competitive lineup.
He still wants to win and after his narrow loss in 2021, his return next year would show he’s serious about getting revenge on Red Bull again.