Horner hopes Hamilton will be back for 2022 season

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton and Christian Horner shake hands.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, and Christian Horner, Red Bull, shake hands on the podium. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner hopes Lewis Hamilton will take his place on the grid for the upcoming 2022 season.

The Mercedes driver has remained silent throughout the Formula 1 winter break, following the controversial events of Abu Dhabi where he felt that the race result, and title outcome, had been manipulated.

An investigation is ongoing into the events of the race where Red Bull’s Max Verstappen snatched the title from Hamilton on the last lap, following only the lapped cars between Verstappen in P2 and leader Hamilton being cleared, before the Safety Car was withdrawn ahead of that final lap.

Hamilton did not attend the FIA’s prize-giving event, and as his silence continues, following on from him saying “we’ll see about next year” in his brief Abu Dhabi post-race interview, doubts remain over Hamilton’s future in the series.

Even Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff can not yet publicly confirm that Hamilton will be back.

Horner certainly hopes that he will be though, explaining that Hamilton and Verstappen were driving in a class above the rest throughout 2021.

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes alongside Max Verstappen's Red Bull. Yas Marina December 2021.
Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes alongside Max Verstappen's Red Bull in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina December 2021.

“I certainly hope that Lewis will be around this year,” said Horner in an interview with WION.

“He’s still driving at an incredible level, the two drivers last year were in a league of their own.”

However, Horner said that the decision is solely Hamilton’s to make.

“But ultimately it’s his choice, it’s his career, it’s his decision, so I’m sure that he will decide to do what’s best for him, what he wants to do,” Horner continued.

“And that is none of our business.”

Despite Abu Dhabi feeling like an anti-climax to some, that race, and the season on a whole drew in record viewing figures for Formula 1.

The interest in Formula 1 is arguably at an all-time high, with Horner believing that this Hamilton-Verstappen title battle played a key role.

Before 2021, Mercedes had won the last seven Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles in succession, six of those Drivers’ crowns going Hamilton’s way, which Horner felt had made Formula 1 “less attractive”.

 

Asked if the title rivalry between Hamilton and Verstappen helped grow Formula 1’s fanbase, Horner replied: “Oh for sure.

“I think sport is all about competition and when you’ve got serial winners, it becomes less attractive.

“So I think the fact that there was a big rivalry between the teams, between the two drivers, every grand prix there was very little to choose between the two of them.

“It was a fantastic year, it was the best year I think Formula 1 has had as a sport for probably 30 or 40 years.”

 

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