Mercedes star driver Lewis Hamilton narrowly missed out on a record-breaking eighth drivers’ championship in a chaotic season finale.
Since then, Hamilton was more than respectable in his deameanour towards eventual winner Max Verstappen. It is believed, though, that Hamilton is not entirely satisfied with the way the sport is being managed.
Given that he has already achieved more than what most can imagine, it was recently rumoured that he was secretly so disillusioned by the antics that took place in the final race in Abu Dhabi that he is contemplating his future in the sport.
Toto Wolff had also voiced some concern about whether he felt Hamilton would be capable of pulling himself together before the coming season. There now appears to be a realistic chance that Hamilton will indeed call it a day, if a recent report by Motorsport is to be believed.
The website claims that Lewis Hamilton is very much on the fence regarding his career and could opt out of the contract he had previously signed with the team.
If at all this is the case and he can find a way to legally annul his contract, a Mercedes seat will be up for grabs.
EssentiallySports believes that Valtteri Bottas and Nyck de Vries are the alternatives Mercedes will turn to if such a situation arises.
Who will replace Hamilton?
The sports website claims that while Bottas has already signed for Alfa Romeo, Hamilton’s retirement could pave the way for Mercedes to rehire him before the 2022 season gets underway.
They allude to Bottas’ dependable nature as one that would suit the team in what would certainly be uncertain times.
This would naturally free up a seat at Alfa Romeo. The website points to Antonio Giovinazzi being the natural fit for the team, having been ousted at the end of the 2021 season.
There seems to be a smaller chance that Nyck de Vries gets a shot, but given his experience of being Mercedes’ reserve driver, it may also mean he has greater insight into the functioning of the unit compared to an outsider.
This would, however, mean Mercedes starts with a fresh pairing of George Russell and de Vries. Risky business? After seeing Hamilton lose the title in the final lap of the season, a clean slate may well be what the team is looking for.
Hamilton’s frustrations piling up
A further element that must not be ignored is the fact that Hamilton is potentially going to face a grid penalty after missing the FIA gala in protest against the result.
This will surely be seen as an even more frustrating result on Hamilton’s part. If he believes this season’s result was a farce, starting the new campaign with a penalty would be all the more frustrating.
It is easy to see how this entire situation would be bugging the Stevenage-born driver.
Although there are media houses claiming that Hamilton will voluntarily decide to call time on his career following the unceremonious end in Abu Dhabi, there has been no official word on the issue by Hamilton himself.
With the lure of an eighth title still very much in front of him, it is hard to imagine Hamilton hanging up his boots just yet.