Is this a retirement hint? Dejected Lewis Hamilton insists ‘we’ll see about next year’ following controversial season-ending defeat to rival Max Verstappen which denied him a record eighth Formula 1 championship title
- Lewis Hamilton reacted with dignity as Max Verstappen beat him to the F1 title
- The Dutchman won the season-ending Abu Dhabi race very controversially
- Mercedes took issue with application of the safety car procedure on the last lap
- Hamilton later offered a cryptic response which may be seen as a retirement hint
A dejected Lewis Hamilton has got the Formula 1 world talking after dropping a cryptic hint over his potential retirement following a controversial end to the championship campaign.
Hamilton was denied a record-breaking eighth world title in the most controversial of circumstances, after a bizarre stewards ruling at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix enabled his rival Max Verstappen to end the final lap neck-and-neck with him, while racing on better tires.
The Dutchman was able to nip ahead of Hamilton and win the race at the very death, and in doing so lift his first ever championship title in the process.
Lewis Hamilton led for most of the race in Abu Dhabi, but was then overtaken on the very last lap – since, his comments have been seen as a possible hint at retirement from the sport
Following the race, Hamilton picked his words carefully but would only go as far as to say he would ‘see’ about next year.
‘I think we did an amazing job this year,” Hamilton told the Sky Sports cameras immediately after the race.
‘My team worked so hard this whole year, it’s been the most difficult of seasons.
We gave it everything and never gave up and that’s the most important thing.
‘We’ll see about next year.’
Verstappen’s fresher tyres allowed him to dive down beyond Hamilton and then win the title
With Hamilton seemingly easing his way to the title, Nicholas Latifi’s crash bunched the field, before the late FIA decision to take lapped cars out of the equation enabled Verstappen to make his move on the Mercedes man on the final lap.
After the race, F1 legend Damon Hill accused Red Bull of ‘playing rough’ with Michael Masi after Christian Horner ‘persuaded’ the race director to gain an advantage, allowing Verstappen to controversially pip Hamilton to the drivers’ title at the death.
Masi had originally said that the lapped cars would not be allowed to unlap themselves but after a word from Red Bull chief Horner, Masi changed his mind, allowing the five cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves, wiping out the Brit’s 13-second advantage.
‘I think these are new rules,’ Hill told Sky Sports.
‘I think it’s a new style of race directing, I think that Mercedes have struggled with the decisions that have been made.
‘Red Bull played rough, but they’ve persuaded the race director that cars should be allowed to race, and it should be a robust kind of formula, and they’ve prevailed.’
Christian Horner and Max Verstappen (left picture, left and right) celebrated on the podium after the Dutchman won his first ever world championship; but Damon Hill (right) believes Red Bull ‘played rough’ with ‘new rules’ to win the drivers’ title
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