Ex-F1 driver on Hamilton: ‘I don’t think he is running away’

Sir Lewis Hamilton is understood to be considering retiring from Formula 1 after narrowly missing out on his eighth championship in December.

Lewis Hamilton mulling retirement in 2022.v1

Mercedes driver Sir Lewis Hamilton is unlikely to quit Formula 1 following the highly controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

That’s the opinion of ex-F1 racer Marc Surer, who told Formula1News.co.uk he believes the Brit will still be on the grid in 2022, to once again chase after his record-breaking eighth title.

Max Verstappen took victory at the season-ending 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to beat Hamilton to the Drivers’ Championship after an intense, season-long battle.

READ: ‘He’ll be back’: Ex-F1 driver rubbishes Hamilton retirement rumour

However, the manner in which the Dutchman won the curtain-closer has left the Briton feeling “disillusioned” with the sport, according to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, and he is as such considering walking away from Formula 1.

Lewis Hamilton at the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP.v1

Specifically, a controversial Safety Car restart by race director Michael Masi led Hamilton to claim that the race had been “manipulated.”

The Australian initially ruled that none of the lapped cars would be allowed to un-lap themselves, after the Safety Car was deployed following Nicholas Latifi crashing his car out of the race.

However, Masi then allowed only the five lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to un-lap themselves.

This gave the Red Bull driver a clear run at Hamilton on the final lap, and he was able to use his tyre advantage to overtake the Brit to seal victory in Abu Dhabi.

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Despite all the talk about Hamilton retiring, and Wolff saying he cannot guarantee that the seven-time world champion will return in 2022, Surer believes it is unlikely he will indeed retire from the pinnacle of motorsport.

READ: Russell downplays importance of standing in for Hamilton

“I don’t think he is running away, he wants the eighth title to be the greatest ever,” Surer told Formula1News.co.uk.

Asked for his thoughts on the rumoured deal between Mercedes and the FIA – which reportedly resulted in the Silver Arrows dropping their intention to appeal the result of the season finale in exchange for Masi being fired – Surer stressed “it would be difficult to find a replacement.”

Mercedes have reportedly denied having struck such a deal with the FIA, and speculation that Masi has already been sacked has since been debunked.

If Hamilton returns to the sport in 2022 with Mercedes, he will be partnered by George Russell, who has replaced Valtteri Bottas at the Silver Arrows.

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