Hamilton taking ‘social media break’ after Abu Dhabi controversy

Sir Lewis Hamilton is "fine" following his heart-breaking championship defeat to Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi, his brother, Nicolas, has said.

Lewis Hamilton at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.v1

Sir Lewis Hamilton’s brother Nicolas has revealed that the main reason for the seven-time world champion’s silence is that he is currently taking some time away from social media.

Hamilton lost out on his eighth F1 championship in Abu Dhabi in highly contentious circumstances, with race director Michael Masi allowing only five lapped cars through past the late Safety Car with one lap to go, leaving the remaining cars on track.

This unprecedented decision appeared to be a result of radio lobbying from Red Bull, and the chaos allowed Max Verstappen to pass the Briton on the final lap – claiming his first world title in the process.

READ: Wolff suggests Hamilton ‘lost faith’ in Formula 1 after Abu Dhabi controversy

Hamilton has since received his knighthood at Windsor Palace, but has yet to appear before the media (with the exception of the post-race interviews), nor has he posted on social media since the heartbreak.

His brother, Nicolas, has confirmed that his silence since the season finale has been due to a social media break.

“I think he is just having a bit of a social media break, which I don’t blame him for,” Nicolas said on Twitch.

“Social media can be a very toxic place. But he’s cool though. He’s fine,” he added.

Hamilton won nine races over the course of 2021, but the manner in which he missed out on the title angered and exasperated his Mercedes team. Rumours have thus circulated that he may have no interest in continuing in Formula 1.

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is unable to give any guarantees that Hamilton will return in 2022, but the Austrian is hoping that he does indeed continue racing in Formula 1.

“I would very much hope Lewis continues racing because he is the greatest driver of all time,” Wolff said.

The Austrian maintains that Hamilton deserved his eighth world championship based on the final few races of the year:

“When you look at it from the point of view of the last four races, he was dominant. There wasn’t even a doubt who won the race, and that was worthy of winning the world championship.”

The Mercedes boss, who began his role at the Constructors’ Champions in 2014, reckons Hamilton has never been better.

READ: Steiner suggests Mazepin ‘exaggerated’ staff exodus at Haas

“So we will be working through the events of the next weeks and months and as a racer, his heart will say ‘I need to continue’ because he is at the peak of his game. But we have to overcome the pain that was caused upon him on Sunday because he is also a man with clear values and that it’s difficult to understand that happened.”

Should Hamilton return in 2022, he will be partnered by George Russell, who has been promoted to the Silver Arrows from Williams.

Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton has lost faith in Formula 1 after Abu Dhabi scandal.v1

He has already competed in one Formula 1 grand prix with Mercedes, when he filled in for Hamilton at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix after the seven-time world champion tested positive for COVID-19.

Russell was in a great position to win his maiden race with the Silver Arrows, but a botched pit-stop and a late slow puncture wrecked his hopes of victory.

Many in the paddock are expecting Russell to give Hamilton a run for his money in equal machinery in 2022, though it remains to be seen how the young Brit will cope with the pressure of having a driver of Hamilton’s calibre as his team-mate.

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