Lewis Hamilton compared with Roger Federer as worrying retirement claim made

Max Verstappen prevails in world title shoot-out

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Ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Webber has thrown doubt over whether Lewis Hamilton will still be in the sport next season. Hamilton suffered heartbreak in Abu Dhabi, as late safety car controversy led to Max Verstappen overtaking him in the final lap to win his maiden world title.

After leading most of the Grand Prix, the Mercedes star will have felt robbed of a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ Championship.

An understandably dejected Hamilton spoke shortly after the shocking events and ended by sending well wishes to everyone as the coronavirus pandemic roars on.

He said: “If I’m honest we were still in the pandemic and I just really wish everyone to stay safe and have a good Christmas with all their families and we’ll see about next year.”

Webber picked up on something Hamilton said in his post-race interview that drew comparisons with Federer.

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And with the Swiss tennis star undoubtedly in his twilight years, Webber suggested retirement could potentially be leaking into the 36-year-old’s mind.

He told Channel 4: “I still think it will be Mercedes and Red Bull [on top in 2022], by the way. Hamilton, no question about it, will be in for a big chance of going again next year.

“What was interesting though, I remember hearing Roger Federer at the Australian Open one year saying borderline ‘I might see you next year’.

“There was a little bit… Lewis on the end of his quote said ‘we’ll see about next year’, so who knows where his head is right now.”


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Webber acknowledged Hamilton’s clean driving as Verstappen performed the title-winning overtake amid the chaos of the final lap.

“He also had a chance, when Max went past him, to put his little front wing right in that rear tyre,” Webber continued.

The Australian also praised Anthony, Hamilton’s dad, for congratulating Verstappen on his controversial win and being there to console Lewis.

He added: “I think his father obviously would have been [using] words like pride, class, dignity, ‘chin up, son, I’m proud of what you’ve done here’.”

Despite Webber’s concerns, the 2021 season’s finale will have made Hamilton more determined than ever before to secure an eighth title.

He will almost certainly be back in a Mercedes car next season, partnered by George Russell as the Silver Arrows eye nine successive Constructors’ Championships.

The 2022 campaign could be the start of a new era in F1, with significant changes to the sport’s technical regulations taking place.

While it’s unlikely the title fight will be quite as dramatic as this year’s, the repeat of Hamilton v Verstappen promises to be a spectacle.

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