Formula 1 supremo Stefano Domenicali has backed former world champion Lewis Hamilton to bounce back for the 2022 campaign, amid rumours that the seven-time world champion was considering retirement.
Hamilton was denied a record eighth world title in agonising fashion in Abu Dhabi, after being pipped by rival Max Verstappen on the very last lap of the season earlier this month.
The Englishman looked set to become the most successful racer of all time after carrying a comfortable lead into the late stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
However, controversy struck as FIA director Michael Masi contentiously allowed a number of lapped cars between Hamilton and title rival Verstappen pass a safety car, to leave the leading two side-by-side with a lap to race.
As a result Hamilton and Verstappen were forced to play out a one-lap shootout in order to decide the world championship, and it was the Dutchman who prevailed no doubt thanks to his much fresher tyres.
This of course left Hamilton heartbroken, and the Englishman was heard hinting that he may never return to the F1 circuit again following defeat.
Despite this Domenicali has been quick to squash any chance of a Hamilton retirement, and has backed the 36-year-old to return stronger in 2022.
He toldLa Gazzetta dello Sport: “Lewis Hamilton? I’m sure he will recharge his batteries and come back with even more desire than before to win the eighth world title.”
The speculation of Hamilton calling it a day grew even thicker, after his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also hinted at the decision following the agony in Abu Dhabi.
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Wolff commented: “I don’t think we will ever get over it, that’s not possible. Lewis and I are disillusioned at the moment. We’re not disillusioned with the sport.
“We love the sport with every bone in our body. And we love it because the stopwatch never lies.
“But if we break that fundamental principle of sporting fairness and authenticity, then suddenly the stopwatch doesn’t become relevant any more.”
He then added: “I very much hope that Lewis continues racing because he’s the greatest driver of all time.”
Despite the worries Wolff and racing fans around the world can no doubt breathe a sigh of relief after motorsport.com claimed that Hamilton is in fact set to stay on for 2022 and join new teammate George Russell.
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