Lewis Hamilton retirement theory raised after Max Verstappen wins controversial F1 title

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen analysed by Coulthard

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Former F1 driver Mark Webber believes Lewis Hamilton could be considering retirement in the wake of the Brit’s defeat to Max Verstappen at Abu Dhabi on Sunday. The Stevenage-born driver failed to win the F1 title, with his Red Bull rival claiming the prize in controversial circumstances. And though he insisted he’d be back next year, there did appear to be some doubt within his comments.

Hamilton and Verstappen were level at the top of the F1 standings prior to Sunday’s epic showdown in Abu Dhabi.

The Brit led for the majority of the race but, on the final lap, was overtaken by his Belgian-Dutch counterpart.

It was a crushing blow for Hamilton, who missed out on the chance to move ahead of Michael Schumacher in the Formula One record books.

Had he won, the 36-year-old would have had eight titles to his name – one more than Schumacher.

Instead, however, it was Verstappen who reigned supreme with the Red Bull star partying into the night in the aftermath.

After the race, Hamilton insisted he’d be back – before then saying ‘we’ll see’ about returning to the sport for next season.

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“Of course [I’ll be back]. I’ve been feeling good the past couple of months … We’ll see about next year,” he said.

And Mark Webber, speaking on Channel 4, thinks the doubt in Hamilton’s words suggests retirement could be on his mind.

“I still think it will be Mercedes and Red Bull by the way [on top in 2022],” said the Australian.

“But Hamilton, no question about it, he will be in for a big chance of going again next year.

“What was interesting though, I remember hearing Roger Federer at the Australian Open one year saying borderline ‘I might see you next year’.

“There was a little bit… Lewis on the end of his quote said ‘we’ll see next year’.

“So, who knows where his head is right now.”

While Hamilton graciously accepted defeat, amid reports he told Mercedes to withdraw their protests over the outcome, his brother Nicholas was far from happy.

Writing on Instagram, Nicholas hit out at the FIA while dubbing his brother the ‘true champion’.

“THE TRUE CHAMPION!” he said.

“The FIA broke their own rules, which is a disgrace to our whole sport. Nevertheless, regardless of being mistreated today, the Hamilton’s were humble in defeat.

“My farther, the guy who raised us, congratulating Max & his father Jos.

“People can say what they like, but my Father’s gesture proves all of the doubters & haters wrong & shows who we are as ‘The Hamilton’s’.

“Proving people wrong is in our DNA, which Lewis does on a daily basis. With utter professionalism & decency in defeat, even though we all know, that he was let down by the sport that he has given so much to.

“Congratulations to Max for such a fantastic season from him.”

Verstappen, meanwhile, branded the final race of the season as ‘insane’ after winning the first title of his career.

“An insane end to the season, for sure,” Verstappen told Sky Sports F1.

“We were clearly lacking a bit of pace so that was a bit of a problem of course, but we never gave up. We just tried to keep the gap close and then everything unfolded in that last lap.”

In a separate interview, he then added: “I didn’t see it coming and then you have that opportunity on the last lap. Yeah, insane, and an incredible feeling for everyone in the team.

“My goal when I was little was of course to become a Formula 1 driver.

“You hope for wins, you hope to be on the podium. When they play the national anthem, you hope they one day play yours and when you stand here and they tell you that you are the world champion, it’s something incredible.

“Especially also with my dad, the special moment we also had here.

“All the things come back through your mind; all the years where you spent together travelling for that goal. Then you’re here together and everything comes together in the last lap.”

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