Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing
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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed what he told Lewis Hamilton before the latter received his knighthood two weeks ago. Prince Charles honoured Hamilton for services to motorsport on December 15, just days after he was denied a record-breaking eighth Formula 1 world title.
Hamilton was on course to seal his fifth successive Drivers’ Championship in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
But Max Verstappen profited from late safety car drama and overtook the Brit on the final lap to win his maiden world title.
It was a conclusion to a dramatic 2021 season marred in controversy, and Mercedes saw two protests over the result rejected by stewards.
Despite his woes at the Yas Marina Circuit, Hamilton was honoured in London after an era of dominance in F1.
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Wolff has explained the message he sent to Hamilton before Prince Charles knighted him at Windsor Castle.
The Silver Arrows boss wanted him to remember his career’s ‘positive moments’ whilst receiving the prestigious honour.
He said: “What I told him before that [being knighted] was that he should try to take these positive moments with him during these few hours, in which his life’s work and his achievements are honoured.
“I think he did that. You saw that too how honourable that was to him.”
Hamilton hasn’t posted on social media since losing his F1 crown to Verstappen, prompting speculation over his future.
And Wolff’s comments earlier this month fueled rumours of the 36-year-old’s potential retirement in the aftermath of Abu Dhabi.
“It’s going to take a long time for us to digest what has happened on Sunday. I don’t think we will ever come over it; that’s not possible. And certainly not him [Hamilton] as a driver,” Wolff explained.
“I would very much hope the two of us and the rest of the team we can work through the events… But he will never overcome the pain and the distress that was caused on Sunday.”
If Hamilton does continue next season, he will have a new partner at Mercedes in former Williams driver George Russell.
The young fellow Brit replaces Valtteri Bottas, who has left Mercedes for Alfa Romeo after four years.
Despite his prolonged silence, Hamilton is expected to return to the grid in 2022 and fight to surpass Michael Schumacher’s world title record.
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