Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has Lewis Hamilton retirement worry after title drama

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that Lewis Hamilton might decide not to return to Formula One next season following his heartbreaking defeat to Max Verstappen at Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Hamilton lost after a controversial move in which a virtual safety car period allowed Verstappen to change his tyres without losing track position, while the Brit had to go without a fresh set for his final lap.

The Mercedes team released a statement on Thursday confirming that they would not be appealing the verdict that followed Verstappen’s win at the Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday – but the future of Hamilton remains a concern.

"Lewis and I are disillusioned at the moment," Wolff said.

"Not disillusioned of the sport, we love this 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 of the sport, then suddenly the stopwatch doesn't become relevant anymore because we are exposed to random decision making, and it's clear you fall out of love with it.

"To be honest, still today, I can't even understand what happened. I'm in disbelief, It still feels surreal."

When the German was asked about whether Hamilton would return, he said: "On a human level it is so difficult because it is so disappointing.

"As I said before, we love this sport but then you start to question. You must never lose the big context of life. Formula 1 is just a sport, much worse things happen out there and we shouldn't fall into the trap of thinking this is the most important thing in the world.

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"But it's our little microcosm where we have created values and beliefs and many of those were kicked on Sunday.

"So I would very much hope Lewis continues racing because he is the greatest driver of all time.

It was reported Hamilton asked that his side not continue their appeal.

After the win of Red Bull driver Verstappen, who earned his very first world championship, Mercedes lodged a notice in which they expressed their intent to appeal the win.

But on Thursday Mercedes abided by Hamilton’s wishes and did not post an appeal by the deadline.

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