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Formula 1: It’s time for Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes to shut up and race

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Since the heartbreaking and dramatic end to his 2021 Formula 1 season, Lewis Hamilton has made just one public appearance, and that was to be knighted. Even a Formula 1 legend has to show up when the crown comes calling.

But Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff skipped the season-ending awards gala, which will likely result in a grid penalty for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, March

 

In the now five-plus weeks since Hamilton lost the championship to Max Verstappen on the last lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, there has been lots of speculation about Hamilton’s future amid contradictory messaging from Mercedes’ Brackley offices.

In perhaps the most encouraging sign to date, Mercedes tweeted a photo of Hamilton actually climbing into a car, featuring a caption which ended with, “Full steam ahead with project W13”.

 

W13 is the house name for their 2022 machine.

All fired up for another full-on week in the factory. Full steam ahead with project W13. 💪
But Mercedes and Hamilton have still yet to make their plans clear, in the petulant hope that the FIA will actually remove race director Michael Masi and head of single-seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis for their roles in the Abu Dhabi outcome.

 

Wolff has been especially vocal about his outrage, while Hamilton has chosen to mostly withdraw from public view.

To be frank, their responses show a flabbergasting lack of sportsmanship which certainly do not befit a team and driver of their level of accomplishment and esteem.

Mike Tyson and Tonya Harding stand alone atop the mountain of all-time bad sports – for ear-eating and kneecapping, respectively. But threatening to withdraw from the sport if league officials are not fired from their jobs might earn Mercedes and Hamilton a spot on the ledge just below.

 

Every child who competes in sports, whether it’s karting or youth football or gymnastics, quickly learns that athletics are a test of determination and mental strength as well as physical ability.

We also come to know that there are forces in both sport and life that we cannot control, and that being the best doesn’t always guarantee victory. It is our reactions to these moments of adversity that define our character.

 

 

In his nearly 30 years racing cars, Hamilton seems to have lost these basic lessons. He has been at the top for so long that he has forgotten how to climb, and he is now faced with the first challenge to his dominance since teammate Nico Rosberg retired after beating him to the title in 2016.

It’s time for Sir Lewis to call on some of the resolve that made him not only Formula 1’s first black world champion, but just the second driver ever to win seven world championships. His legacy is more at stake now than if he had simply announced a quiet retirement and ridden his armored horse off into the sunset.

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