Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has revealed Sir Lewis Hamilton is “in constant contact” with the team despite the British driver refusing to speak publicly since the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton and Max Verstappen went into the final race at the Yas Marina level on points at the top of the drivers’ standings, but it was the 36-year-old who looked destined to win an eighth world title when he led comfortably in the closing laps.
However, it was then that Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed and sparked chaos, with race director Michael Masi proceeding to alter instructions to drivers over the subsequent safety car.
The sped-up procedure duly handed Verstappen the initiative, and it all culminated with the Dutchman sensationally overtaking his rival in the final lap to take the chequered flag, and with it, the title.
Immediately after the race, Hamilton showed real dignity in defeat, opting to congratulate Verstappen and thank his team members and fans as opposed to complaining about what went on.
However, that was far from the end of the matter, with the ‘Silver Arrows’ launching two unsuccessful protests into the procedure, before both Hamilton and Wolff boycotted the end of season FIA prize-gala awards evening in Paris.
Wolff hinted that a “disillusioned” Hamilton was contemplating retirement from the sport, with F1 ‘supremo’ Stefano Domenicali also voicing fears, and now the Austrian has now revealed the star is still struggling to comprehend what went on.
‘So Lewis was in the office with me and everyone else involved, and we’ve been in constant contact these last few days,” Wolff told Motorsport-Total.com.
“We are all wavering in emotions and Lewis most of all.
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“He won the World Championship until the last lap, and then everything is taken away from you from one second [to the next]. Of course you lose faith because you can’t understand what has just happened.
“The silence is there, of course, because he simply lacks words as well.”
Since that dubious finale, Hamilton did get to enjoy the consolation of a knighthood from Prince Charles at Windsor Castle, and Wolff said he had urged him to embrace the honour.
“What I told him before that was that he should try to take these positive moments with him during these few hours, in which his life’s work and his achievements are honoured. I think he did that. You saw that too how honourable that was to him.”