While F1 pundits debate whether Lewis Hamilton will be back on the grid after his controversial loss in the 2021 title race, David Coulthard reckons the entire saga will by now have “bored” the seven-time World Champion.
Losing the World title to Max Verstappen in controversial circumstances, the result of the season finale all but dictated by FIA race director Michael Masi, Hamilton went silent.
Climbing out of his W12, undoubtedly disappointed with the outcome, the 37-year-old congratulated Verstappen and his father Jos, gave a very brief post-race interview, and then left the venue.
While his fans rallied around, crying foul, and his team boss Toto Wolff made his thoughts known as Mercedes lodged not one but two protests, Hamilton hasn’t been heard from since.
Coulthard, a former driver turned pundit, reckons by now the Briton will be “bored” with all this talk.
“I think he will be bored with everyone saying to him, ‘You were robbed, Lewis!’ or ‘You’re the people’s champion, Lewis!’,” Coulthard told The Telegraph.
“He’ll be avoiding even having those conversations.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) January 24, 2022
“I can’t compare myself to Lewis in terms of success or speed but one thing I think I can relate to is that emotional detachment, once the moment’s gone.
“The euphoria of success wears off quite quickly, and the disappointment of defeat wears off quite quickly as well.”
Hamilton’s silence has pundits and fans wondering if this is it for Formula 1’s most successful driver.
The seven-time World Champion, who has 103 race wins and the same number of pole positions, has nothing to prove to the world, or even to himself.
Coulthard, however, believes his compatriot will take his place on this year’s grid as he fights for a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ title.
“The big decision was when he committed to that new two-year contract midway through last season. I don’t think Abu Dhabi changes anything.
“Of course he would have liked to have won. And I think he was very emotional, as anyone would be under the circumstances.
“But I think the reality is the shock was probably far less for him than it would have been for Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team boss], or the rest of the team, or his fans.”
Mercedes will unveil their 2022 challenger, the W13, on 18 February, the week prior to the first pre-season test.