Lewis Hamilton dropped a major clue over his immediate future in Formula One on Monday by taking to social media to show himself on the streets of London for an early morning run with his trainer. The 37-year-old is widely expected to return to the grid for the upcoming season despite being left aggrieved by the FIA’s handling of last year’s decisive Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton was cruelly denied a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ Championship title by Max Verstappen, who was bizarrely allowed to close up to him under the safety car late on.
The Dutchman was given a clear run at his Mercedes rival after race director Michael Masi asked the five lapped cars between the two leaders to un-lap themselves before the green flags were waved to spark a one-lap shootout.
Verstappen went on to force his way around Hamilton on the final lap to take the chequered flag and clinch the end-of-season honours under extraordinary circumstances.
The latter was said to have lost his trust in the FIA over the events that unfolded in Abu Dhabi and was said to be weighing up the idea of walking away from the sport as a result.
He maintained radio silence on social media for eight weeks before finally posting on Saturday and it seems as though he may now have decided to return to the cockpit as he ramps up his preparations for the season ahead.
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Hamilton posted a video of himself running in London with his trainer, Angela Cullen, as the sun rose over the capital on Monday morning.
He also delivered a strong hint that he will soon be making his return to F1 by including the caption: “Back at it with @cullen_angela.”
The seven-time champion is yet to make any further comments about his future in the sport but remains contracted to Mercedes until the end of 2023 after penning a two-year extension last summer.
It seems highly likely that he will avoid a surprise retirement in order to challenge for the honours once again over the coming months.
Meanwhile, two-time Drivers’ Championship title winner Mika Hakkinen recently suggested that Hamilton could eventually be inclined to call it quits if Mercedes are bumped down the pecking order by this year’s new regulations.
“Lewis’ journey in Formula One has been really long and there are so many elements which will come into his opinion as to whether to continue,” said Hakkinen earlier this month.
“Lewis has the confidence. He has been winning, he has been on the top of the podium, and everybody has been looking at him like: ‘Wow, you are great’.
“He is thinking that it must continue this way, so this is going to be a very interesting year for him. The regulations in Formula One have dramatically changed.
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“It is going to be a completely new machine and the chances are that the designers might not find an optimum machine.
“If that happens to Lewis, it is going to be really hard for him to accept.
“If you have been at the top of the mountain and suddenly you have to climb back up the mountain because you don’t have the best car, it is going to be emotional for him to control.”
“There are a lot of question marks surrounding Lewis. We don’t know whether he is coming back, but let’s hope he is.”