Verstappen sees ‘no reason’ for Hamilton to quit F1

Max Verstappen believes Lewis Hamilton has no reason to walk away from Formula 1 despite the controversial circumstances surrounding his title defeat.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1

On Thursday, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Hamilton is “disillusioned” about the contentious conclusion to Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and admitted he could not guarantee if the seven-time world champion would continue to race in F1. 

Hamilton had dominated the final race of the season and appeared on course to win a record-breaking eighth world title until a controversial late Safety Car restart left him exposed to Verstappen, who clinched his maiden world championship with a last-lap overtake having pitted for fresh soft tyres.

Speaking prior to picking up his world championship trophy at the FIA’s prize-giving gala in Paris on Thursday, Verstappen backed Hamilton to return motivated next season.

“Of course I can understand that the first few days after a race like that you are not happy,” Verstappen said.

“But you should also understand that this is racing at the end of the day and these things can happen to you.

“I think he should just look back at what he has achieved already and that should give him a lot of comfort, and it should also be that drive to just to keep on going because he is still trying to challenge for that eighth title and for sure he can do that again next year.

“So I don’t see any reason why to give up or stop now.”

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates his pole position with second placed Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in qualifying parc ferme.
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates his pole position with…

Asked if he feels sorry for Hamilton, who along with Wolff has refused to turn up to the FIA gala, Verstappen replied: “No I don’t feel sorry but I can understand of course that it can be very painful.

“But at the end of the day, that’s racing as well. You have to just fighting until the end and you know in racing that anything can happen.

“And he also won a championship like that, so I think he can understand that as well.”

Mercedes confirmed earlier in the day that it would not be pursuing an appeal into the Abu Dhabi result, having previously seen two post-race protests rejected by the stewards.

Verstappen stressed the threat of a potential appeal from Mercedes had not bothered him in the days since his title win.

"Not really," he said. "We were having a really good time as a team because we knew we won it on track.

"And there was a green light or a green flag [with the stewards’ decision] and nobody could ever take that away from us, so I was in a good mood."

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