Don't think Lewis Hamilton is coming back for 2022 season, says Bernie Ecclestone

Hamilton's bid for a record eighth World Championship ended in controversy at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021.

Lewis Hamilton file photo, Image credit: Twitter

Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone believes Lewis Hamilton will not return to the series for the 2022 season. c, with race director Michael Masi’s use of the Safety Car infuriating Mercedes. Hamilton had dominated much of the race, which he entered level on points with Max Verstappen, but a late Safety Car allowed Verstappen to pit for fresh soft tyres before the pack clumped together.

Race Control was then caught in a bind, initially deciding that lapped cars would not overtake the Safety Car before any potential restart, only to partially reverse that decision. Instead of releasing all lapped cars, only the drivers between Verstappen and Hamilton were cleared, and once the SC was removed to allow a final lap of racing, Verstappen used his superior tyres to pass Hamilton and take the win and the title.

Two Mercedes protests were dismissed after the race, but the FIA has launched an investigation to determine whether the sporting regulations were followed correctly in Abu Dhabi. Hamilton did not attend the FIA prize-giving gala, which he was required to attend in order to collect the P2 trophy, and his Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, has given no assurances that Hamilton will return to Formula One next season. Hamilton, for his part, has yet to speak publicly about the events in Abu Dhabi.

According to a recent report, Hamilton has informed Mercedes that he will continue next season, but Ecclestone does not expect his compatriot to return.


“I don’t think he’s coming back,” Ecclestone said in an interview with Blick. “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 admitted that while he did not speak directly with Hamilton, he did speak with his father Anthony, who was in attendance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Ecclestone, on the other hand, did not inquire about Hamilton’s F1 career, sensing that Anthony would be unwilling to discuss it.

Also Read – Lewis Hamilton will ‘never overcome pain and distress’ of Abu Dhabi GP: Toto Wolff

Asked if he talked to Hamilton on the phone, Ecclestone replied: “No, but a few days ago with his father. I immediately sensed that he wouldn’t answer a question about his son’s future. So we only talked about business.”

Verstappen is on the opposite side of the fence as Ecclestone, believing that his rival will compete again next season. Ecclestone said he can “understand” Verstappen’s point of view and why the seven-time champion would want him to stay, while reiterating his belief that Verstappen is the best racing driver in the world.

When told Verstappen had tipped Hamilton to stay in Formula 1, Ecclestone said: “I understand that. With Hamilton, Max had a rival who was highly regarded by everyone. So successes count twice. And I maintain: Max is currently the best racing driver in the world.”

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