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Lewis Hamilton’s chances of returning ‘getting worse’ as FIA investigation ‘drags on’

LEWIS HAMILTON’s retirement will become more and more likely the longer the FIA take to conclude their investigation, Sky Sports’ Craig Slater warned.

 

 

Lewis Hamilton returned to Mercedes’ social media yesterday as the team posted in celebration of the Chinese New Year. The 37-year-old appeared alongside new teammate George Russell in a video shared on Chinese social media platform, Weibo. Hamilton has been quiet since the dramatic end to the 2021 Formula 1 season in December. He entered the last race at Abu Dhabi level on points with title rival Max Verstappen, who went on to pass the Briton on the last lap and take the championship.
Mercedes was left furious after a controversial decision by Michael Masi to let some lapped cars pass the safety car allowed Verstappen to move closer to Hamilton.

The team appealed the race result, but their case was dismissed.

As the FIA continue to investigate what happened, speculation over Hamilton’s retirement has rumbled on.

Craig Slater of Sky Sports last month warned that the longer the investigation drags on, the more chance there is that Hamilton will not return.
“In terms of Hamilton coming back to Formula 1, having the appetite to do so and getting over the ‘disillusionment’ that his team boss Toto Wolff said he felt after Abu Dhabi, the onus is on the FIA to deliver on the pledge they made before Christmas to investigate the happenings on that final lap and to come up with some findings.

“It is understood that Mercedes wants to see something tangible.
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Lewis Hamilton’s chances of returning ‘getting worse’ as FIA investigation ‘drags on’
LEWIS HAMILTON’s retirement will become more and more likely the longer the FIA take to conclude their investigation, Sky Sports’ Craig Slater warned.
By CHARLIE BRADLEY
06:58, Thu, Feb 3, 2022 | UPDATED: 06:59, Thu, Feb 3, 2022
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Lewis Hamilton returned to Mercedes’ social media yesterday as the team posted in celebration of the Chinese New Year. The 37-year-old appeared alongside new teammate George Russell in a video shared on Chinese social media platform, Weibo. Hamilton has been quiet since the dramatic end to the 2021 Formula 1 season in December. He entered the last race at Abu Dhabi level on points with title rival Max Verstappen, who went on to pass the Briton on the last lap and take the championship.

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Mercedes was left furious after a controversial decision by Michael Masi to let some lapped cars pass the safety car allowed Verstappen to move closer to Hamilton.

The team appealed the race result, but their case was dismissed.

As the FIA continue to investigate what happened, speculation over Hamilton’s retirement has rumbled on.

Craig Slater of Sky Sports last month warned that the longer the investigation drags on, the more chance there is that Hamilton will not return.

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The journalist said: “It is still unclear whether Lewis Hamilton will be on the grid.

“In terms of Hamilton coming back to Formula 1, having the appetite to do so and getting over the ‘disillusionment’ that his team boss Toto Wolff said he felt after Abu Dhabi, the onus is on the FIA to deliver on the pledge they made before Christmas to investigate the happenings on that final lap and to come up with some findings.

“It is understood that Mercedes wants to see something tangible.

Lewis Hamilton news:
Lewis Hamilton news: Hamilton has threatened retirement (Image: getty)
Lewis Hamilton news:

Lewis Hamilton news: Hamilton and Verstappen in Abu Dhabi (Image: getty)
“It’s been put to me like this: the longer this drags on then the worse the Lewis Hamilton situation is, and that is from a senior source.”

Mr Slater has previously reported that the FIA wants to conclude the investigation by February 3.

The governing body’s president said he disagreed with suggestions Hamilton would retire ahead of next season.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “No, I don’t think he will [quit. I’ll ask your question, did Lewis declare that he’s not going to race? No. Exactly. Being a driver, you declare yourself, you don’t let the rumours [talk].

“I’m confident that Lewis [will return]. Lewis is a big part of motorsport, and of course of Formula 1, the new era [can add to] Lewis’s wins and achievements, and also Verstappen is there.
“I am very confident that you will see a very challenging Formula 1 season next year.”

The 23-race 2022 campaign begins on March 20, with winter testing for the all-new generation of cars commencing on February 23.

Hamilton still has a contract at Mercedes that would take him to the end of 2023.

Speaking to Express.co.uk in November, Labour peer Lord Peter Hain said he expects Hamilton to return.

He said: “He has got a contract for another two years. I think all of his fans, including me, will hope and expect he comes back to make sure he puts right the wrong that was done to him.

“I’m hoping he will, by his sheer ability, overcome this. He has overcome racism, prejudice. He’s come from a very humble background with an extraordinary father.

“He’s the poor black kid who made it to the top. Most of the other drivers come from very comfortable backgrounds. That’s no criticism of them.
“I think he will be back. Formula 1 will be massively, massively damaged if he doesn’t. He will retire at some point in the next few years of course.

“Formula 1 will have been boosted by his contribution to his sport. There’s no other Formula 1 champion who has had a greater reach into the average citizen right across the world than Lewis”.

Christian Horner, Red Bull’s Team Principal, also said he expects the controversy of Abu Dhabi to be forgotten about.

He said: “People in this business have such very short memories

“We’ve even forgotten what happened [earlier in the year]. It was such a long racing season.
“Max is absolutely a deserving world champion. When you look at the championship as a whole, of course, the events in Abu Dhabi drew an awful lot of comment but that happens in sport.

“We had a lot of bad luck last year, we got fortunate with a safety car, we made the right strategic calls, great strategy, great teamwork and great execution by Max, and we won the race.

“Time will move on. Max is a very deserving world champion, we are incredibly proud of that, and the history books will always show he is the 2021 world champion.”

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