It has been over one week since Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the 2021 Formula 1 season to clinch his first world title, and the Englishman hasn’t been heard from since. He hasn’t posted on his social media accounts, nor has he appeared to answer any media questions. which has brought about rumours over his future.
He was photographed receiving his knighthood from Prince Charles on Wednesday at Windsor Castle but he failed to attend the FIA prize-giving gala the following night which should see him punished by new FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff seemed to have accepted defeat on the night of the race as he was seen partying into the early hours of Monday morning and he hopes that Hamilton will return to the team for 2022.
“I would very much like Lewis to continue racing,” Wolff said, “because he is the best of all time. As a driver, his heart will tell him that he has to continue because he is in the best moment of his career.”
He has a contract
Wolff will expect Hamilton to adhere to all of his duties stated in the new two-year contract he signed earlier in 2021 with the 36-year-old expected to be a mentor to Williams driver George Russell, who joins the team from 2022 onwards.
But even the 59 million euro per season salary the Brit is supposedly earning may not be enough to keep him in the sport given his dismay at some of race control’s decisions late in the race which allowed Verstappen to close in.
This wouldn’t be the first time a Mercedes driver has retired unexpectedly after Nico Rosberg opted to bow out of the sport as World Champion at the end of 2016, which left Wolff and Mercedes scrambling to find a new driver.
Thankfully for Wolff, he managed Valtteri Bottas at the time and was able to strike a deal with Williams to secure the Finn’s services but the same ordeal again could be more problematic