Formula 1: Jenson Button on rumours of Lewis Hamilton retiring
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Nyck de Vries is proving to Mercedes that he could well be the man to replace seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, if the Englishman chooses to retire ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Hamilton was left heartbroken at last season’s finale in Abu Dhabi, as he agonisingly missed out on a record eighth world title after being pipped on the very last lap of the campaign by Max Verstappen.
The finish was a controversial one though, as Hamilton had a once comfortable lead wiped out, after race director Michael Masi allowed a number of lapped cars between the Englishman to contentiously overtake a deployed safety car.
This allowed the Dutchman to get right back into the race as the pair were left to fight out a final lap shootout in order to decide the world championship, which the Dutchman went on to win.
Following the controversial finish Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff revealed that his main driver was left ‘disillusioned’ with the sport.
This comment, along with Hamilton’s radio silence since the season finale has led many to believe that the seven-time world champ could well be calling time on his driving career.
If Hamilton does decide to call it quits, Mercedes could well have a new driver in de Vries, after impressing for the Silver Arrows at Formula E level.
The 26-year-old is the reigning Formula E champion, after collecting the championship last campaign, and has started the new season in a similar fashion too, winning round one in Diriyah.
The Dutchman was in good stead to make it two from two in the second round, after qualifying on pole, however with Mercedes slow on pace and de Vries making contact, he had to settle for a 10th place finish.
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Speaking after the race he said: “It’s tough when you’re down on pace. On top of that, after contact, I lost four or five positions which was just too bad.
In the end, though, it was down to us as I believe we simply weren’t fast enough today.
“It all goes to prove once again that things can still go wrong, even if you’ve had a strong weekend up until that point.
“The window is very narrow and you can soon lose out as a result.”
Despite an underwhelming finish in round two, the 26-year-old’s hot form in recent times could well put him into contention for a Formula 1 spot, if rumours surrounding Hamilton’s retirement are true.
Whilst no announcement has been made, the Englishman is said to be waiting on the results of the FIA inquiry into the controversial finish in Abu Dhabi before making his decision.
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