Horner hoping Hamilton doesn’t retire after Abu Dhabi heartbreak

The Red Bull team principal would like Sir Lewis Hamilton to be on the grid for the opening race of the season in Bahrain on 20 March.

Lewis Hamilton and Christian Horner in 2015.v1

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner does not want Sir Lewis Hamilton to retire following his cruel championship defeat in 2021 that saw Max Verstappen claim his maiden title.

Hamilton and Verstappen entered the final round of last season level on points following what had been an incredible season of racing, and the Briton found himself comfortably leading the way late on.

However, 2021 would have one final and shocking twist in the tale, as Williams’ Nicholas Latifi slammed into the barrier in the closing stages.

READ: Verstappen’s talent can make up for Red Bull getting 2022 car a ‘little bit wrong’

This, despite Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff’s pleas to race director Michael Masi, extracted the Safety Car.

Verstappen took the opportunity to pit, and since Mercedes feared losing track position under the threat of no resumption of green flag racing, they opted to leave Hamilton on the circuit.

Masi would then make two juxtaposing calls on lapped cars, initially ruling that none of the would be allowed through due to the time constraints, before eventually only allowing the five between the leaders past.

As a result, the Dutchman passed the seven-time world champion on the final lap of the race and seal his maiden world title.

Hamilton took his agonising blow with grace, congratulating his rival immediately after the completion of the race, before adding: “We’ll see about next year.”

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This has sparked vociferous rumours that the 37-year-old will be leaving the pinnacle of motorsport before the beginning of the 2022 season, with former Formula 1 driver Perry McCarthy recently Formula1News.co.uk that such an event is “possible.”

Horner thinks it would be a shame if his compatriot decided not to return this year, as he and Verstappen were a class above the rest in 2021.

“I certainly hope he will be back this year. He is still driving at an incredibly high level. Those two drivers were in a different league last year,” he told WION.

As for the decision Hamilton will actually make, the 48-year-old prefers not to involve himself in such matters.

“That is none of our business,” he affirmed.

READ: Masi made the ‘right decision’ despite it being not a ‘great call’ for Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton at the 2021 F1 season finale.v1

Red Bull narrowly missed out to Mercedes on the Constructors’ Championship last season, but the efforts of Sergio Perez aided his team-mate’s cause as the Mexican held off the seven-time champion in Turkey and the curtain-closer a the Yas Marina Circuit.

The Milton Keynes-based team have retained their two drivers for 2022, while Hamilton is set to be joined by new signing George Russell, who has moved from Williams to replace Alfa Romeo-bound Valtteri Bottas.

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