Lewis Hamilton quitting F1 not ruled out and would be a ‘disgrace’, says Mercedes boss Toto Wolff

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  • Lewis Hamilton
    Lewis Hamilton
    British racing driver
  • Toto Wolff
    Austrian racecar driver and investor
  • Max Verstappen
    Max Verstappen
    Dutch-Belgian racing driver
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Toto Wolff cannot guarantee Lewis Hamilton returning to Formula One for the 2022 season.

The seven-times world champion was denied a record eighth crown in Abu Dhabi last month after a controversial safety-car restart helped Max Verstappen perform a last-lap overtake to claim his maiden title.

Hamilton, 37, has not spoken publicly of the incident since, amid speculation that he may quit the sport having told his team radio that the result had been “manipulated”.

“I really hope we see him again,” Mercedes chief Wolff told Kronen Zeitung. “It would be a disgrace for the whole of F1 if the best driver decided to retire because of outrageous decisions.”

He added: “No matter what obstacle has been thrown at him, he has known all his life that he has to doing his talking on the track.

“But it is incredibly difficult for him, until he has found a way between understanding what is right and what is wrong. That just takes time.”

The FIA have vowed to learn lessons from the season climax after setting in motion an internal review, the result of which is expected in February and could have a bearing on Hamilton’s future.

But Wolff stated: “That will never be forgotten. Because what happened to Lewis was just wrong.

“He was unbeatable that day, until race control blew its fuses. They committed three violations of the rules. That's just hard to understand.

“It will always follow us - although Max Verstappen was a worthy world champion over the season. But that day, one was better than the other - and they didn't win.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Former champion Damon Hill has said that he understands the argument for Hamilton retiring, but believes that the prospect of an eighth title will draw him back to F1.

Hill told Sky F1: “He’s getting to the end of his career, well, it may be many years off, but he’s got a lot in the bank and he might just think, ‘I’ve done all I can do’.

“But I’m sure that eighth title is just too tempting. I’m sure he’ll want to come back and have it and put all of this to rest.”

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