Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has opened up on Lewis Hamilton’s silence since his defeat to Max Verstappen at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix earlier this month. The Brit was denied the chance to make F1 history as his Red Bull rival reigned supreme. Since then, talk of retirement has grown in volume.
Hamilton was just one lap away from beating Michael Schumacher’s record of seven F1 titles.
However, due to an incident with the safety car, the Mercedes star missed out on the chance to move in front of his former idol.
Verstappen took the prize instead, with the 24-year-old becoming the first driver to beat Hamilton to glory since Nico Rosberg in 2016.
“We are all wavering in emotions and Lewis most of all,” said Wolff, quoted by Motorsport-total.com.
“He won the World Championship until the last lap, and then everything is taken away from you from one second [to the next]. Of course you lose faith because you can’t understand what has just happened.
“The silence is there, of course, because he simply lacks words as well.”
In a separate interview over the festive period, Wolff also took aim at the FIA and called on the officials to change their approach to the rules.
He said: “It is a wider problem. If you look at most of the controversies that have happened this year.
“It was about decisions, sporting decisions on the track, the inconsistency of the execution of the regulations on track.
“It is one thing to drive hard and to have differences of opinion among the drivers and the teams, it is in the nature of the game.
“But inconsistent decision making leads to controversies, leads to polarisation and that was the grounds for many of the totally unnecessary controversies on the track.”
Hamilton was coy over whether he’d return to F1 for another crack at the title when immediately quizzed on his future following his defeat to Verstappen.
“A big congratulations to Max and his team,” he said.
“I think we did an amazing job this year. My team worked so hard this whole year, it’s been the most difficult of seasons.
“We gave it everything and never gave up and that’s the most important thing.
“I’ve felt great in the car in the past couple of months. We’re still in the pandemic and I just want everyone to stay safe and spend Christmas with their families.
“We’ll see about next year.”
Verstappen, though, has since stated he doesn’t want Hamilton to quit – insisting F1 is enhanced by his presence.
“I can understand being unhappy about what happened after the first few days,” he said earlier this month.
“But you also understand that this is racing and these things sometimes happen.
“I think it even happened to him before (in 2008) so I think he knows that.
“I think Lewis should just look at what he has achieved. That should comfort him and encourage him to keep going, because he can still fight for the eighth title again next year.
“So I see no reason for him to give up or stop now.”