Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has given an explanation for the silence from Sir Lewis Hamilton since the season-ending 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, putting it down simply to the fact that the Briton is speechless.
Hamilton was denied his record-eighth F1 title after race director Michel Masi made a controversial decision to allow five lapped cars through past the Safety Car late in the race, allowing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to pass Hamilton on the very last lap and claim his first championship.
Since then, there has been a media blackout from the 36-year-old, who has unfollowed everyone on Instagram.
Wolff has tried to give an explanation on Hamilton’s behalf, explaining that it is still an emotional situation for him and the team.
“We are all wavering in emotions and Lewis most of all,” Wolff said in an interview with Motorsport Total.
“He won the world championship until the last lap, and then everything is taken away from you from one second [to the next]. Of course you lose faith because you can’t understand what has just happened.”
The Austrian then said that Hamilton does not have the words to come out and speak to the media about what transpired in Abu Dhabi.
“The silence is there, of course, because he simply lacks words as well.”
The 49-year-old confirmed that Hamilton was involved with deliberations from Mercedes as to whether they should appeal the championship result, with Hamilton receiving his knighthood just three days after the heartbreak of Abu Dhabi.
“Lewis was in the office with me and everyone else involved, and we were also in constant contact over those days,” said the Mercedes boss.
He went on to explain that he told Hamilton to appreciate what he has previously done in the sport, and recognise his own life achievements ahead of his knighthood at Windsor Castle.
“What I told him before [receiving the knighthood] was that he should take those few hours paying homage to his life’s work so far and his performances, that he should try to take those positive moments with him. I think that’s what he did. You could see that too, how honourable that was for him.”
Former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes that the lack of a public response from Hamilton is a suggestion that he is done with F1, and that he should focus on his other passions.
“I don’t think he’s coming back. 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,” Ecclestone said.
A number of drivers, such as Verstappen and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, have said they would like Hamilton to remain in Formula 1.