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Lewis Hamilton retirement debate causes split as F1 waits to see if Brit quits this month

LEWIS HAMILTON is yet to confirm whether he will compete in the 2022 F1 season.

Formula One fans are split over who should take Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes seat if the Brit retires from the sport ahead of the 2022 season. Rumours have suggested that Hamilton may quit following the heavily controversial end to the previous year.

 

 

The 37-year-old was incredibly beaten to the world championship by fierce rival Max Verstappen.

A remarkable finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ended with Verstappen overtaking Hamilton on the last lap thanks to a contentious decision from FIA race director Michael Masi.

Hamilton has still not commented on an ending which involved the final lap being restarted following the deployment of a safety car, despite the Mercedes drvier having led for most of the race.

His silence has poured petrol on the fire of suggestions that he could leave F1 ahead of the 2022 season, which begins in March.

But, should he leave his Mercedes seat, fans are split over who he should be replaced by.

Mercedes have already added the highly-rated George Russell to their line-up following the departure of Valtteri Bottas to Alfa Romeo.

And Bottas is the second-favourite to make a shock return to the Silver Arrows if Hamilton departs.

The Fin shared 23 per cent of the votes in a poll of Express Sport readers – although the actual probability of a dramatic u-turn is seemingly low.

But he was pipped by AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, with the Frenchman winning with 26 per cent of the 16,143 votes.

Whether the Frenchman would be keen to cut ties with Red Bull to join Mercedes is unclear.

Nyck De Vries, the Mercedes Formula E driver most likely to be Hamilton’s replacement if he does quit, had just 13 per cent of the votes.

While Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, a former Mercedes junior driver, enjoyed the support of 12 per cent of Express Sport readers.

Stoffel Vandoorne, De Vries’ Mercedes FE team-mate, earned three per-cent. ‘Other’ came in third place with 23 per cent, proving that fans are unsure over who will replace the seven-time world champion.

Hamilton appeared to break his social media silence earlier this week when a video emerged on social media app Weibo in which he and new Mercedes team-mate Russell wished fans a happy Chinese New Year.

Supporters saw it as proof that Hamilton is set to line up alongside Russell in the 2022 campaign. However, it has since emerged that the video was filmed ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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