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Lewis Hamilton Message, Brit’s Retirement Deadline, Max Verstappen To Mercedes…

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There are just 44 days until the first practice session of the 2022 Formula One season, the same day the FIA will release the results of their investigation into the controversy of the last race of 2021. We’re also now just over a week away from the first 2022 car launch and there remain plenty of talking points in the offseason – not least Lewis Hamilton’s uncertain future in F1. Express Sport rounds up all the biggest stories you need to know.

Hamilton’s message to fans Since losing out on the 2021 title to Max Verstappen in December, Hamilton has not posted once to any of his social media accounts. But at the weekend he was in seen a Mercedes video alongside George Russell to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

 

 

The Briton and Russell both wished fans well with the clip posted on Chinese social media platform Weibo. Hamilton said: “Hi everyone, I wish you a Happy Chinese New Year. May the New Year bring you good luck and everything you wish for.”

But RacingNews365 have since confirmed all is not as it seems and Hamilton has not broken his silence because the video was recorded prior to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale almost two months ago.
Hamilton is waiting to discover the results of an FIA investigation into the events of the race after the manner in which he lost out on a record-breaking eighth triumph.

 

 

The governing body have said the results of their inquiry will be made public on March 18, two days before the 2022 season-opening race in Bahrain. Hamilton’s retirement deadline
It appears that the seven-time world champion will have to make a decision on whether or not to retire in advance of that date though, because Mercedes plan to unveil their 2022 car on February 18.
Sky Sports say that the Silver Arrows expect both of their drivers to be present at the launch event.

Mercedes have refused to confirm that the Briton will be one of those drivers however, suggesting they themselves remain uncertain over the 37-year-old’s plans.

If Hamilton is to walk away from F1, it appears he may have to do so before the FIA publicly communicate the findings of their investigation – at least if Mercedes are to stick to their word about having both drivers presents.

 

Mercedes could of course do a u-turn and only have Russell present at their car launch, though that would be an unusual move, or the FIA could decide to inform the team of their findings in secret in the coming weeks.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is confident that Hamilton will return to F1 – because he’s heard nothing suggesting otherwise inside the industry. The 78-year-old told F1-Insider.com: “Normally there would be unrest if there was any truth to the resignation.

Marko has also shut down any suggestions that reigning world champion Verstappen could one day swap Red Bull for rivals Mercedes. He believes the driver’s father Jos Verstappen would never allow such a switch after the events of the British Grand Prix last season, which Hamilton won after a tangle with the Dutchman saw him clatter into the barriers at 51G.

 

 

“I do not think Max will leave us,” he told Czech site Autorevue. “The events at Silverstone have left too big a crack, especially with Jos. I think that makes him less likely to switch sides.”
Speaking exclusively to Express Sport, former F1 driver Karun Chandhok has tipped Hamilton to return to F1 next season provided the FIA indicate that changes will be made after their investigation, with Michael Masi’s future apparently a point of contention.

The Sky Sports F1 expert said: “My personal instinct is that he will come back. I think he showed in the last four races of last season his hunger to win and his inherent speed has not dimmed at all.

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