Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has moved to cool rumours that Sir Lewis Hamilton may leave Formula 1 after missing out on his eighth world title in 2021.
Hamilton lost out on the title to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on the very last lap of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a race that was marred by controversy.
Race director Michael Masi elected to only allow five lapped cars through past the leaders during a late Safety Car, but left some in the pack.
It appeared to be a move designed to create entertainment rather than one that stringently followed the racing regulations, and Mercedes were left angered by the ending.
They saw a protest denied by the FIA before withdrawing an intention to appeal, instead affirming that they would “hold the FIA accountable” via an investigation being conducted into the events.
A petition has been launched to make Hamilton champion, but much has been made of his silence since the conclusion of the championship, with many suggesting that he might leave Formula 1.
Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is among those who believe Hamilton has had enough.
“I don’t think he’s coming back,” he said.
“His disappointment is too great. And you can understand that in a way. Now it would be time, with also seven World Championship titles like Michael Schumacher, to tackle his dream of becoming a fashion entrepreneur.”
Hamilton ‘too good’ to retire
Dr Marko, however, believes that Hamilton has too much hunger and desire to give up on his dream of holding the most F1 titles in the sport’s history.
“Lewis will do everything to grab that eighth title. He is still too good to stop and has been able to deal with losses before. He can do that now too,” the Austrian said.
Russell could help Red Bull defeat Hamilton
George Russell will join Mercedes from Williams next year, and Dr Marko thinks this new challenge will galvanise Hamilton like never before, while a close pace proximity between the two Mercedes drivers could be advantageous to Red Bull.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how much pressure his new team-mate, Russell, puts on Hamilton. Bottas couldn’t do that. That can be an advantage for us.”
Dr Marko went on to explain that the addition of Russell to Mercedes could benefit Red Bull if the young Brit is able to take wins away from the seven-time world champion.
Should Hamilton return, he will contest his 16th season in Formula 1 and will once again try to win his eighth world championship.