Lewis Hamilton retirement verdict given by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz as Brit ‘makes decision’

Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing

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Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz says he does not want Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton to retire from Formula One following his heartbreaking climax to the 2021 season. And according to recent reports, Sainz may get his wish.

Toto Wolff the Mercedes team principal poured doubt on Hamilton’s future in the sport earlier this month when he said: “I very much hope that Lewis continues racing because he’s the greatest driver of all time.”

The Silver Arrows are eager to understand how the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix unfolded in the contentious nature that it did, with Max Verstappen’s last-lap overtake taking him to the Drivers’ Championship.

And there have been suggestions the lack of faith in F1’s decision-makers, with race director Michael Masi continued to receive criticism for his role in the season finale, could tempt Hamilton to walk away.

Yet Ferrari’s Sainz, though his chances of podiums and race wins are undoubtedly decreased with the seven-time world champion on the grid, says he hopes the Briton does not call time on his career.

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Speaking to Spanish outlet Marca, Sainz – who finished fifth in the 2021 standings in his debut season with Ferrari – said: “I don’t know what Hamilton will decide to do.

“I hope Hamilton doesn’t retire, I want to continue racing with him, he’s one of the best in history and I want to continue sharing the grid with him.”

Wolff insists he and Hamilton are both “disillusioned” and neither showed for the FIA’s prize-giving ceremony in Paris, where Verstappen received his winner’s trophy.

Hamilton has unfollowed everyone on Instagram including his dog Roscoe and his brother Anthony, who revealed a few days after the race that he had not spoken to Lewis.

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The 36-year-old has not spoken publicly or posted to social media since a single post-race interview in Abu Dhabi in which he classily congratulated rival and title-winner Verstappen.

Hamilton was at Windsor Castle to receive a knighthood from the Prince of Wales but did not post anything on Twitter or Instagram about the honour, nor did he speak to any press.

But Motorsport.com’s Italian branch are reporting that Hamilton has informed Mercedes of his intention to continue racing next season despite his disappointment.

And amid such reports, former McLaren mechanic Marc Priestley, a member of the team when Hamilton won the 2008 Drivers’ Championship, is confident Hamilton will return for 2022.

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“I absolutely can’t see Lewis going anywhere,” Priestley said on YouTube of Hamilton, who is under contract with Mercedes until the end of the 2023 season.

“I’m sure he feels disillusioned with the sport and the people that are running it. But he’s a Formula One racer, he’ll be intrigued by as anybody about the 2022 cars. He won’t want to make that his last appearance in F1.”

Priestley added: “I’ve got half an inkling that if he’d won it on Sunday last week, maybe he was going to walk away.

“Maybe he had in his mind he might retire, I don’t know. But things have changed now because he’s got something to fight back against.”

Hamilton was looking to overtake the great Michael Schumacher as the only man in F1 history to clinch eight driver’s titles but will hope to bounce back in 2022 to dethrone Verstappen.

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