Seven times Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has reportedly gone into hibernation, taking a break from social media, perhaps contemplating his future in the wake of the controversial defeat in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton’s younger brother, Nicolas told viewers during a Twitch stream: “I think he’s just having a bit of a social media break. I don’t blame him, social media can be a very toxic place but he’s cool though. He’s fine.”
The season finale at Yas Marina Circuit, earlier this month, billed as Formula 1’s greatest race ended farcically but nevertheless decided the Title with Hamilton the loser and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen the 2021 F1 World Champion.
Events on the night have been well reported and dissected, splitting the opinions of F1 fans, media and neutrals, as the Hamilton camp felt robbed of what would have been his eighth Title. Meanwhile, rivals in the Verstappen army are adamant justice was served on the night.
Although Hamilton was gracious in defeat immediately after the race, what followed was a protest by Mercedes and their superstar driver’s disappearance from the F1 center stage as Verstappen held court – the new World Champion.
The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale should have been F1’s greatest race
The manner in which the 2021 season climaxed was hugely disappointing, both drivers deserved better as did the most viewed race in the sport’s history. Instead, it provided stark proof that the officiating of F1, in this open-source age of the sport, needs an urgent revamp.
Mercedes were aggrieved, they are sure they were robbed as Susie Wolff (of the inner circle) declared, while team boss Toto Wolff, apart from raging, told media he was concerned that incidents on the night may have pushed Hamilton into considering his career in the top flight.
Indeed, since the night before the finale in Abu Dhabi, his Twitter has been silent to the 6.9-million followers:
P2 on the front row tomorrow, not bad since I prefer the battle. We’re looking strong and feeling focused — we’ve got to dig deeper than ever before. LET’S GO ‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/3Pd3tjHQsp
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) December 11, 2021
While his Instagram of 25.4-million followers has also been quiet since that day.
Will Hamilton return or not?
Speculation has bubbled since then that Hamilton may not return with Wolff explaining to Motorsport-Total the extent of the pain: “We are all wavering in emotions and Lewis most of all.
“He was winning the world championship until the last lap, and then everything is taken away from you from one second… Of course, you lose faith because you can’t understand what has just happened.
“The silence is there, of course, because he simply lacks words as well,” explained Wolff.
Since the finale, Sir Lewis Hamilton received his Knighthood, which his boss urged him to use as motivation: “What I told him before 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,” added Wolff.
History of F1 is dotted with title deciders that left the loser highly aggrieved
In 1989 Ayrton Senna felt robbed of the title by Alain Prost. A year later, in 1990 Prost was on the reeving end of Senna ruthlessness that had the Frenchman fuming in the offseason as the Brazilian celebrated the title.
In 1994, Damon Hill was punted out of title contention by Michael Schumacher who became champion that year, but in 1997 a blatant punt attempt on Jacques Villeneuve had the German DQ-ed from the Championship.
Hamilton himself has never really gotten over the fact that Nico Rosberg beat him in 2016, as Mercedes teammates under Wolff’s watch. The pair, once buddies have hardly spoken since. Lewis did not take the defeat well and was appalled that Nico quit without defending the crown.
At the heights of his prowess and experience, earning so much, on the most visible individual sporting platform and the sport entering an exciting era, it is unlikely that 36-year-old Hamilton will not return to see what 2022 has in store.
Meanwhile, a social media break, going under the radar is probably the exact tonic Hamilton needs to return fighting fit to challenge Verstappen and whoever emerges as a contender next year.