Team Principal and CEO of the Mercedes F1 Team, Toto Wolff thinks Lewis Hamilton’s silence since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is because the seven-time champion “can’t understand” what happened.
Max Verstappen grabbed the title from the grasp of a dejected Lewis Hamilton, after a controversial ruling from FIA Race Director Michael Masi that arguably influenced the championship result.
Instead of conducting post-race interviews and media commitments, Wolff went straight into meetings with senior Mercedes and legal personnel to lodge protests into the FIA and its part in their driver’s championship loss to Verstappen.
After parking up in the pit lane immediately after the race instead of heading to the Top 3 marker boards on the grid, Hamilton was admirably gracious in defeat in the interview and up on the podium.
Since then he has only been publicly seen receiving his knighthood from the Prince of Wales, having been absent from the FIA Prize Giving Gala alongside Wolff.
“We are all wavering in emotions and Lewis most of all,” Wolff says.
“He won the World Championship until the last lap, and then everything is taken away from you from one second. Of course you lose faith because you can’t understand what has just happened.”
Hamilton’s alleged loss of faith in the sport follows the wording of the official Mercedes appeal withdrawal statement published on the Thursday morning of the subsequent week.
The Mercedes team was said to have “lost faith in racing” after their almost certain victory was agonisingly taken in the unfortunate late-race circumstances.
Former boss of Formula 1, Bernie Ecclestone, added fuel to the rumour of an imminent Hamilton retirement recently, but Wolff seems confident in retaining Hamilton’s services going into 2022.
“The silence is there, of course, because he simply lacks words as well,” says Wolff.
“Lewis was in the office with me and everyone else involved [in the appeal], and we were also in constant contact over those days.”