Mercedes AMG Petronas Team Principal , Toto Wolff , hopes Lewis Hamilton will continue to race in Formula 1 2022 despite the controversy in the title-determining race in Abu Dhabi, on Sunday (12/12/2021). This was conveyed by Wolff to Crash.net, Thursday (16/12/2021), which was his first appearance to the public since the race.
In that race, Max Verstappen, who started from pole, was overtaken by Hamilton on the straight after the start. On Lap 53, Hamilton was still 11.5 seconds ahead. However, Nicholas Latifi hit the dividing wall and invited the Safety Car. Red Bull also asked Verstappen to make a pit stop on Lap 54 to change the hard to soft tires.
At the end of Lap 57, Hamilton and Verstappen were side by side as the Safety Car pulled into the pits. At the beginning of Lap 58, Verstappen also overtook and took over the leadership of the race at Turn 5. Verstappen was able to maintain his position until the finish. That way, the eighth title that had been in front of Hamilton’s eyes fell into the hands of Verstappen.
Mercedes Impossible To Forget
“Lewis and I are disappointed. We love this sport with all our bones because stopwatches never lie. However, if you use the fundamental principles of justice and truth in this event, and suddenly the stopwatch is no longer relevant because of random decisions, it’s already obviously you can lose that love,” said Wolff.
The German admits that he, Hamilton and Mercedes will take a long time to digest what happened in Abu Dhabi, where FIA Race Director Michael Masi has become the center of controversy for taking the awkward decision to return the Safety Car to the pits and leave one lap for Hamilton and Verstappen to a duel.
“I don’t think we can forget it. It’s impossible, and obviously for the driver. I hope both of us and our team can get through this event. We, together with the FIA and F1, can overcome this situation in order to advance the sport. However, we cannot. forget the pain and stress caused by last Sunday,” continued Wolff.
Lewis Hamilton’s future is a question mark
This controversy also sparked doubts about Hamilton’s future. Last year, the British driver invited many questions because he did not immediately sign a new contract with Mercedes. However, earlier this year he finally agreed to stay until the end of 2023. Even so, Wolff admitted that he had no guarantee that Hamilton would continue to race in 2022.
“I really hope Lewis keeps racing, because he’s the greatest driver in history. If you look at the last four races, he dominated, there’s no doubt who won those races. And the win deserves to win the title. We’ll work through this event in a few days. weeks and months to come,” said Wolff.
“I think, as a racer, Lewis’s heart will say ‘I have to keep racing’ because he is at the peak of his career. However, we have to get rid of the hurt, especially Lewis is a person with clear self-esteem. I have dialogue with him every day, but I also respect that he doesn’t talk much at the moment. Everyone has their own way of dealing with their feelings.”