boss Toto Wolff is in constant touch with Lewis Hamilton as the British driver “loses faith” with the sport and retirement talk swirls around the seven-time champion.
Hamilton has been alarmingly silent since he lost the 2021 F1 title to Max Verstappen in a final lap thriller in Abu Dhabi with his Dutch rival getting an unexpected advantage on a late safety car ruling that allowed him to stop for fresh tyres.
Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone tipped a disappointed Hamilton to retire and persue his other passion of fashion.
But Wolff remains hopeful Hamilton will be in a Mercedes seat next year, looking to break free of Michael Schumacher’s shadow and win a record eighth title.
“What I told him before that was that he should try to take these positive moments with him during these few hours, in which his life’s work and his achievements are honoured. I think he did that. You saw that too how honourable that was to him.”
Hamilton has been strangely silent on social media and deleted the accounts of people he was following on Instagram in the aftermath to this major disappointment.
Hamilton’s younger brother Nicolas felt it was a wise move under the circumstances.
“I think he is just having a bit of a social media break, which I don’t blame him for,” he told fans during an exchange on video game streaming platform Twitch.
“Social media can be a very toxic place. But he’s cool though. He’s fine.”
Helmut Marko, one of Verstappen’s bosses at Red Bull Racing, fully expects Hamilton to be on the grid next season.
“Lewis will do everything to get the eighth title,” Marko told Sport1 when quizzed on Hamilton’s driving future.
“He’s still way too good to stop. He was able to deal with defeat before and can do it now.”
Verstappen agrees, saying: “This is racing, and these things can happen to you.
“I think he should just look back at what he has achieved, and that should give him a lot of comfort and that drive to keep on going.
“He is still trying to challenge for that eighth title, and he can do that again next year, so I don’t see any reason why to give up or stop now.”