Hamilton opens up on plans to remain in F1 ahead of 2023 season
Lando Norris was left red-faced during a livestream on his popular Twitch channel when he accidentally branded Lewis Hamilton an eight-time world champion in an awkward blunder in front of his viewers. Norris is one of the biggest celebrity streamers on the platform, with the 23-year-old boasting well over a million followers, and had a large number of fans tuning in to watch him speak in the aftermath of last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.
The McLaren ace was showing off his collection of F1 helmets worn by himself and other drivers when he stumbled upon the one he wore in Abu Dhabi two years ago and said: “This one here is when Lewis won his eighth world championship.” He was quick to realise his mistake, though, as he immediately stopped mid-sentence before attempting to laugh it off in a clip which has since gone viral on social media.
Norris went on to hide his face from the camera and struggled to compose himself when he re-emerged as he continued to giggle knowing full well that the result of that year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix remains a sore topic for fans of Hamilton. The race was, of course, won by Max Verstappen under highly controversial circumstances after then-race director Michael Masi failed to apply the rules correctly during a late safety car period.
It saw Hamilton cruelly denied what should have been a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ Championship title, with many supporters of the 38-year-old still furious about the events that unfolded in Abu Dhabi to this day. Norris is not the only person to have referred to Hamilton as an eight-time champion since that fateful evening at the Yas Marina Circuit, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner making a similar mistake when speaking to reporters in Bahrain last month.
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“Obviously he had a horrible weekend but he’s still an eight-time world champion,” said Horner before it was pointed out that Hamilton did not actually win the title in 2021, to which he responded: “Seven! I forgot Nico Rosberg won one.”
Hamilton was understandably distraught with the manner of his defeat in Abu Dhabi two years ago and famously went into social media exile for a number of weeks before returning just before pre-season testing in 2022. He opened up on the impact of Masi’s blunder in an interview with the BBC in October of last year, with the Mercedes driver explaining that he could still barely comprehend what had happened in spite of his best efforts.
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“What really was breaking was to just believe that the sport would do something like that,” said Hamilton. “That that would happen, given that there are so many people you rely on. You expect that the job would be done right.
“An outcome of a world championship which so many people have worked so hard for would come out through a wrong decision from somebody, you know? That was probably the only thing. It wasn’t for my lack of love for working with my team or racing cars.
“If you can lose a championship through wrongdoing within an organisation, that was the thing that I wondered whether… I spent time with my family and that was really the best part of the healing. That enabled me to really recover, really bounce back.”
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