Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard does not believe that Sir Lewis Hamilton is thinking of retiring following his championship defeat in 2021, suggesting that the 37-year-old will get over the controversial ending soon enough.
Hamilton was denied his eighth championship when a polemic Safety Car restart by race director Michael Masi allowed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to pass the Briton on the final lap.
The Australian contradicted a decision four minutes earlier that no lapped cars would be permitted past the late Safety Car by then only allowing the five between the title protagonists through.
The 24-year-old had bolted on fresh tyres under the caution, and was able to dive past his rival on the final lap of the race to secure his first Formula 1 title.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has since stated that his driver feels “disillusioned” with F1 at present, and has openly rallied for changes to the way races are adjudicated, saying that the stewards cannot “freestyle the rules like this,” in relation to the final lap in Abu Dhabi.
The 37-year-old has meanwhile been conspicuously quiet since his post-race interview in the UAE capital, leading to concerns that he may be headed for the door.
Coulthard however, believes that his compatriot is only looking ahead of him, not back.
“I think he will be bored with everyone saying to him, ‘You were robbed, Lewis!’, or, ‘You’re the people’s champion, Lewis!'” Coulthard said in an interview with The Telegraph.
“He’ll be avoiding even having those conversations.”
After a tense few months last winter before the seven-time champion eventually signed on to a new contract for 2021, Hamilton put pen to paper a new two-year deal midway through last year, supposedly leaving no doubt as to his presence on the grid this season.
The former Williams, McLaren and Red Bull driver does not think the close to the championship at the Yas Marina Circuit will have disturbed Hamilton’s allegiance to the pinnacle of motorsport.
“The big decision was when he committed to that new two-year [Mercedes] contract midway through last season,” he added.
“I don’t think Abu Dhabi changes anything. Of course, he would have liked to have won. I think he was very emotional, as anyone would be under the circumstances.”
Further, the 13-time race winner reckons that the 37-year-old’s fans have taken the loss harder than the Mercedes driver himself.
“But I think the reality is the shock was probably far less for him than it would have been for Toto, or the rest of the team, or his fans,” explained Coulthard.
“I can’t compare myself to Lewis in terms of success or speed but one thing I think I can relate to is that emotional detachment, once the moment’s gone.”
1996 world champion Damon Hill has previously told Hamilton fans to “get over” his heartbreak in December, and Coulthard suggests that the seven-time world champion will have done so relatively quickly.
“The euphoria of success wears off quite quickly, and the disappointment of defeat wears off quite quickly as well,” he stated.
Hamilton is set to partner new Mercedes driver George Russell in 2022, with the former Williams driver signing to replace Valtteri Bottas, who has joined Alfa Romeo.