Grand Prix racing, the world’s pre-eminent motorsport, is potentially headed for an extraordinary moment: The last Formula 1 race of 2021 could firmly establish Lewis Hamilton as the greatest competitive driver of all time.
On Sunday, Hamilton, the British star of team Mercedes-AMG Petronas, won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, tying Red Bull Racing Honda’s Max Verstappen in championship points for the season and setting up a tiebreaker for the ages at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, Dec. 12.
Formula 1 said that, even though the two are tied on points, Verstappen “technically maintains the lead” because he has one more victory this season than Hamilton. Nonetheless, the driver who finishes faster next week will in all likelihood take the 2021 championship.
With a victory, Hamilton would surpass Michael Schumacher, the retired German legend, when it comes to world titles. Both have seven. Verstappen has never won the title.
Hamilton has also made headlines off-track in the last few years, speaking out about human rights, gender inequality, racism and homophobia. He received a knighthood as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year’s honors list for 2021.
However, his presence in Saudi Arabia has sparked criticism, with the human rights group Amnesty International accusing the country of using the Grand Prix as a “PR stunt” to “deflect attention from its brutal crackdown on activists and human rights defenders.”
For his part, Hamilton said at a news conference ahead of Sunday’s race that he felt “duty-bound” to raise concerns about Saudi Arabia’s record on human rights.
“The sport has taken a choice to be here,” he said. “And whether it’s right or wrong, while we are here, it’s important we do try to raise awareness.”
In the days ahead of November’s Qatar Grand Prix, Hamilton also announced that he would wear an LGBTQ flag on his helmet to highlight human rights in a country where homosexuality is illegal.
Jean Todt, president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, Formula 1’s governing body, told CNBC in remarks that aired Friday that it isn’t FIA’s role to “get involved with political issues.” He said he believed that being in Saudi Arabia, despite its record, encourages dialogue.
Is Decision On Lewis Hamilton’s F1 Future Coming Soon? Who’ll Replace Him If He Quits?
After losing the final race of the 2021 world drivers’ championship under controversial circumstances, Lewis Hamilton is rumoured to be contemplating his Formula One future.
Despite the fact that Hamilton himself has not spoken anything regarding his retirement, speculations have circulated that the British driver is planning to leave the sport following his shocking defeat at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix late last year. The rumours found more support after Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he is unsure whether Hamilton will return for the 2022 season.
Hamilton was disappointed after the race last month because he was unable to win his record-breaking eighth championship. After leading for 57 laps at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton undoubtedly believed he had all but clinched yet another Formula One championship. When Nicholas Latifi collided with the wall and the safety car was called in, everything for Hamilton flipped upside down as Max Verstappen, with a fresher set of tyres, was able to overtake the Briton and win his maiden drivers’ championship.
When is a decision on Hamilton’s future coming?
A decision on Hamiton’s future in Formula One is likely to come in a couple of weeks. With pre-season testing set to begin in February, Hamilton’s decision on his Formula One future is expected to be made before that. The Bahrain Grand Prix will kick off the new season in March. meanwhile, some reports have already suggested that he will be back with Mercedes for the 2020 season.
F1 Bosses surprisingly advice Lewis Hamilton for F1 career; ‘Red Bull!’
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.
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.
Is Lewis Hamilton Retiring?; The question people frequently ask
The recently knighted, seven-time motorsport world champion is not in a rush to shift gears, but in an interview with T&C he hinted at his focus after Formula One—philanthropy.
Winning doesn’t mean anything unless you do something with it.”
Lewis Hamilton told me that in Mexico City in November. The Briton was competing in the Grand Prix there, one of the last legs of the Formula One World Championship circuit, and he was neck and neck in the rankings with Dutch rival Max Verstappen of team Red Bull while in pursuit of an historic eighth world title.
Hamilton did not appear like a man under pressure. In fact, the opposite. He was reflecting on his legacy, and relished the idea of spending more time on his philanthropy. Back then, his comments did not strike me as out of the ordinary; in recent years Hamilton has doubled down on his work as an activist. Now, in light of the rumors about his retirement, our conversation takes on a whole new meaning.
“When I was younger, all I could think about was training and winning and being the best I could be,” he told T&C. “Now, I have a different feel.”
Hamilton, 36, is one of motorsport’s all-time greats—he is tied with the retired Michael Schumacher for the most World Drivers’ Championship titles—but he was coming into Mexico City an underdog, lagging in points behind the 24-year-old Verstappen.