Formula 1 chief Stefano Domenicali says he respects Lewis Hamilton’s decision to go silent in the wake of his defeat to Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi and believes the seven-time World Champion will be totally focussed on claiming title number eight this season.
Hamilton revealed his displeasure, in the manner in which the title was decided, by muting his normally active social media platforms, followed by tens of millions of fans. The silence spawned tons of speculation about his state of mind and future in the sport.
That all came to nothing this week when the cheerful-looking Mercedes driver posted a photo of himself, visiting a canyon with the caption: “I’ve been gone. Now I’m back!”
This was met with a collective sigh of relief from the F1 world, the loudest of which must have emanated from the F1 offices in London, near which Hamilton was videoed running with his assistant and physio Angela Cullen this week.
Perhaps a prelude to a meeting with F1 bosses at Prince’s Gate?
Whatever the case, Sir Lewis is box office material for F1 and, right now, the sport without him will be the poorer as he has so much to offer, on and off track.His late-season surge starting in Brazil was evidence that Hamilton is arguably in the best form of his life heading into 2022.
Domenicali: Hamilton will be fully charged for the start of the season
Among those most relieved seeing Hamilton’s post was Domenicali, who told Sky F1: “I saw the last picture was a light of positivity on his face and his gesture. I think that is important because Lewis is an incredible asset not only for our sport but for the world.”
As for Lewis going off the radar, the Italian added: “There was total respect on his choice to be on silent mode. I think he will be fully charged for the start of the season. I’m sure he is totally focused on these objectives because this year there will be so many new things, so many variables, that will allow this championship to be so attractive.”
Last year’s F1 season will go down as one of the closest and best in the sport’s history despite the divisive nature of its conclusion, however, the reality was that only two drivers from two different teams were seriously in with a shot – Max and Lewis.
Thus the main goal of the new F1 rules is to address the massive imbalance between the Haves and the Have-Nots, to eliminate the cruelly termed ‘Formula 1.5’ and give more teams a shot a proper chance of winning and more drivers capable of fighting for the title from this season on.
My dream is not only Lewis and Max but also other drivers be part of the title battle
Domenicali said of this goal, “My aspiration for F1 is there would not only be a rivalry between two drivers but a rivalry between more drivers because we are in front of a step change for F1 in regards to the new cars.
“If the job will be done in the right way, I think the objective was very clear, to make sure the drivers who are a big asset for F1 will have the chance to do it because of the cars.
“My dream will be to have not only Max and Lewis fighting for that, but also having other drivers as part of the battle,” added Domenicali.
In 2021, Verstappen won ten Grand Prix races on his way to his first world title with Hamilton winning eight times.
Other winners were Red Bull new man Sergio Perez who won in Baku; Alpine’s Esteban Ocon winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix; Daniel Ricciardo heading home a McLaren one-two at Monza and Valtteri Bottas winning in Turkey, his last victory as a Mercedes driver.
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