The ‘vanishing’ of Lewis Hamilton in the wake of the controversial and decisive 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale, has some predicting he won’t be back while others among them – Damon Hill and Martin Brundle – believe he was never gone…
We all know what transpired in the aftermath of that crazy night at Yas Marina Circuit, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen deservingly winning the title and Hamilton undeservedly losing it the way he did. Hence the latter’s social media silence and vanishing.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff did the saga no favours by claiming (truthfully or not) he was unsure Hamilton would return or at least implying he did not know, in recent soundbites.
With Sebastian Vettel already being suggested as a replacement, be sure Toto’s phone has been busy…
But 1996 F1 World Champion, Hill does not believe the ‘quit’ speculation and told Sky F1: “Lewis is getting to the end of his career, well, it may be many years off, but he’s got a lot in the bank and he might just think: I’ve done all I can do.
“But I’m sure that eighth title is just too tempting. I’m sure he’ll want to come back and have it and put all of this to rest. I think, ultimately, the Lewis Hamilton fans feel very aggrieved, the way the decision went disadvantaged them and they felt robbed, so there’s a lot of ill-feeling,” explained Hill of Hamilton’s decision to go off the radar.
Hamilton is worth $285-million and set to earn another $100-million between now and the end of 2023
Sky F1 expert Martin Brundle is also not on-side with the ‘Lewis Quits’ headlines waiting to be written: “Absolutely not, I don’t buy any of it, to be honest.
“I’m sure Toto has been asked by Lewis, ‘what are you doing about this?’ But Formula 1 is fantastically successful for the Mercedes-Benz brand, while Lewis is 37-years-old and we know he’s driving at his peak, incredibly determined and competitive,” reckoned Brundle.
Hamilton is reportedly worth $285-million and will get substantially richer thanks to a two-year extension deal he inked, in July last year, that sees him with Mercedes until the end of the 2023 F1 season; the extra two years said to be worth $100-million.
Walking away from such a chunk of income, plus the fact that Hamilton is an A-Lister thanks to his F1 genius and remarkable achievements, should he decide to leave the sport, of which he is King at the peak of his prowess, there is simply so much to lose it would be outright daft.
Most of all the spotlight Hamilton uses to highlight social injustices and related issues around the globe will be dimmed, as nothing he does outside of F1 will ever give him the exposure he rightfully enjoys. Quitting now, with still so much he can do and achieve will be tantamount to sporting suicide. He is smart, he knows that. He’ll be back.
Thus when the “Big Sulk” is over, I expect a fired-up Lewis at his very best, throwing all he has at being an eighth time F1 World Champion and with it setting the wrongs, of Abu Dhabi, right – at least in his book.
Also worth noting, for Lewis especially, is the fact that his contemporaries Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen all quit only to find the sport remained irresistible for them; all returned for another shot – Alonso still in the mix.
Life after F1 is not what they expected, and, more importantly, neither of the trio should have ‘quit’ when they did in the first place…