Wolff hopes “disillusioned” Hamilton will continue in F1 

Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton has been left “disillusioned” by the controversial events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and hopes his star driver will not walk away from Formula 1. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1 and his father Anthony
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1 and his father Anthony
© xpbimages.com

Hamilton was denied a record-breaking eighth world title after Max Verstappen, on fresh soft trees, overtook him on the final lap of Sunday’s race to clinch both the race victory and world championship following a contentious Safety Car restart procedure. 

On Thursday, Mercedes announced it had withdrawn its appeal against the race result, meaning that Verstappen will keep his maiden F1 title. 

“Lewis and I are disillusioned at the moment,” Wolff said after Mercedes’ decision was announced. 

“We are not disillusioned with the sport - we love the sport with every bone in our body and we love it because the stopwatch never lies. 

“But if we break that fundamental principal 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, that it is clear you may fall out of love with. 

“That you start to question if all the work you have been putting in - all the sweat, tears and blood - can actually be demonstrated in terms of being the best possible performance on track, because it can be taken away randomly. 

“So it’s going to take a long time for us to digest what has happened on Sunday, I don’t think we will ever get over it. That’s not possible. And certainly not as a driver. 

“I very much hope that the two of us and the rest of the team can work through the events, we can - together with the FIA and F1 - utilise the situation to improve the sport going forward. 

“But we will never overcome the pain and the distress that was caused on Sunday.” 

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 with 1st place and new World Champion, Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 with 1st place and new World…
© xpbimages.com

Earlier this year, Hamilton signed a fresh contract to continue with Mercedes until the end of the 2023 season, but Wolff said he can give no guarantees over whether the seven-time world champion will return in 2022. 

“I would very much hope that Lewis continues racing because he’s the greatest driver of all time,” he explained. 

“When you look at it from the point of view of the last four races he was dominant, there was not even a doubt who won the race. And that was worthy of winning the world championship. 

“We will be working through the events over the next weeks and months. I think as a racer his heart will say ‘I need to continue’ because he’s at the peak of his game. 

"But we have to overcome the pain that was caused upon him on Sunday, also because he is a man with clear values and it’s difficult to understand that that happened.”

Wolff confirmed Hamilton had been part of the decision to drop the appeal and said he has remained in “daily dialogue” with the 36-year-old ever since Sunday’s finale. 

“I am in a daily dialogue with him but also respect that there is not a lot to talk about at the moment,” Wolff said. 

“Each of us copes in their own way with the feelings that we have at the moment. I just need to do the upmost that I can to help him to overcome his imminent feelings that he has in order to ensure that he returns strong, with a love of the sport, and trust in the decision-making of the sport next year. 

“We wish very much that this will be the case.” 

Neither Wolff nor Hamilton will attend tonight's FIA prize-giving gala in Paris. 

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