The seven-time world champion had not spoken publicly or posted on his social media accounts for nearly two months in the wake of last year’s contentious Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

Hamilton had dominated the 2021 season finale and looked on course to win both the race and the title until a late Safety Car period dramatically swung the destiny of the world championship in Max Verstappen’s favour. 

Having pitted for fresh tyres under the Safety Car, the Red Bull driver overtook Hamilton on the final lap of the Yas Marina race to clinch his maiden world title. 

The events of the closing stages of the race are being investigated as part of ongoing FIA review which is looking at the decision-making of race director Michael Masi, who has come under intense scrutiny for failing to apply the correct Safety Car procedures. 

Aside from making an appearance at Windsor Castle to formally receive his knighthood days after his title defeat and a visit to Mercedes’ factory in December, Hamilton has kept a very low profile. 

But Hamilton finally broke his silence on social media with a short post on Saturday evening, his first since after qualifying in Abu Dhabi on December 11. 

“I’ve been gone. Now I’m back!” Hamilton wrote alongside a picture of himself at the Grand Canyon, smiling at the camera.

It has been reported that the 37-year-old has been considering whether to continue racing in F1 this season, despite holding a two-year contract with Mercedes. 

Hamilton is expected to be present at Mercedes’ launch of its 2022 car at Silverstone on February 18, a week before pre-season testing is due to get underway in Spain.