Plooij shares thoughts on Hamilton’s ‘biggest disillusionment’

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes race suit. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes race suit and balaclava on the grid. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

Lewis Hamilton’s biggest issue in last year’s title defeat may not have been the manner in which he lost it but that he lost it all, and time is running out for that eighth.

That’s according to Ziggo Sports reporter Jack Plooij.

Last season Hamilton took on Max Verstappen for the World title, the Briton in control at the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, cruising towards a record-breaking eighth World title.

Or so he was before FIA race director Michael Masi got involved.

The Australian made the controversial call to only allow the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves in a late Safety Car period, setting the stage for a one-lap shootout where Hamilton on old tyres was a sitting duck against Verstappen on his much fresher rubber.

The Dutchman claimed the race win and the World title, leaving Hamilton to seemingly question his future in Formula 1.

Two months later, after silence from Hamilton, the Briton told the world he’s “back” while Mercedes have confirmed he will be at Friday’s launch of the W13.

F1 Safety Car, Aston Martin Vantage, # 44 Lewis Hamilton (GBR, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team), # 4 Lando Norris (GBR, McLaren F1 Team), F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit. Abu Dhabi December 2021

Plooij told “Lewis’ biggest disillusionment might have been that he might only have one, but two, three or four more years to go.

“That may have been a serious consideration for him, because to continue for another four years? That would probably have been his doubt.

“Perhaps he will now look at it year after year. And what is George Russell going to do next to him? Of course he has to think about that for a while.”

He added: “I am convinced that in the coming years he wants to show once again that he is better than one Mr Schumacher in terms of World titles.

“Of course it may not happen immediately because they [Mercedes] may perhaps not get it quite right with the development of the new car.

“But knowing Mercedes, they will certainly get over that.”

Plooij’s comments come as the F1 Commission met in London with the Abu Dhabi finale one of the hot topics.

The FIA informed the teams of its findings from its investigation while also laying out what they believe is the way forward, with confirmation that a public statement will be made “in the coming days” about their “structural changes and action plan” following their findings – although they will not be made official until the World Motor Sport Council meeting on 18 March.

There has been speculation that Mercedes threatened to quit Formula 1 if Masi wasn’t fired, but Plooij has ruled this out.

“They can get out every day, but they won’t,” he said. “I do not believe that.

“They have been so successful, they have established themselves as a car brand so well in Formula 1 and then they get the lid on the nose. I don’t believe that a very large brand will pull the plug as a result of one such moment that is bad for the company.


“I think they made a very conscious choice before to continue in Formula 1. And once such a decision has been made, are you not going to change it because of an action, a race or a race result? I do not believe that.

“It’s all pressure, putting pressure on the FIA and FOM to try to bend the rules to their liking. That’s what they are doing.”


PlanetF1 Verdict


Was this Hamilton’s 'biggest disillusionment' from 2021?

Ziggo Sports reporter Jack Plooij has been talking about Lewis Hamilton's possible disillusionment in 2021