Jeroen Bleekemolen says Lewis Hamilton’s silence since the 2021 Abu Dhabi finale has ensured his “opinion is noticed” – and he has done it without saying a word.
Losing the 2021 Drivers’ Championship title in controversial circumstances, Hamilton told Mercedes on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix the race was being “manipulated”.
He gave a very short interview after that, congratulating Verstappen and adding a “we’ll see about next year” comment before disappearing.
While he broke his silence on Monday, announcing a school initiative, the Mercedes driver has yet to comment about the finale, Michael Masi’s unprecedented call or even to confirm – at least publicly – he will be back on the grid this season.
And while all that nothing has been going on, speculation about his future has been rife while the FIA have also launched an investigation into Masi’s decision-making.
Dutch racing driver Bleekemolen believes the Briton has made his point very clear.
“His opinion is noticed and everyone is talking about it,” he told NOS. “That puts pressure on the FIA.
“They have to intervene and make changes. The FIA has to come up with a good story, otherwise Hamilton’s first words will not be what the F1 leadership would like to hear.”
That it a sentiment echoed by British journalist Jonathan Noble.
He told the Dutch publication: “His silence illustrates the enormous frustration. It underlines the need for the FIA to change things. Saying nothing is more impressive than all the things Lewis could have said. The ball is in the FIA’s court.”
“The silence is unusual,” he continued. “But the way Hamilton lost the World title was also far from normal.
“Hamilton has the feeling the competition has been manipulated. His annoyance is so great he has closed himself off from the outside world.
“That is often the case in life – if you have nothing good to say, it is better not to say anything.”
As for whether Formula 1 can expect to see the seven-time former World Champion take his place on this year’s grid, Bleekemolen says yes.
“I expect and hope he continues. It’s more fun when he’s there,” he said. “Lewis is driven and good enough to last a few more years. He also sees that eighth World title.
“Hamilton is trying to increase the pressure on the FIA motorsport federation and is powerful. I think he wants to get some people out of there, like race director Michael Masi.
“Lewis wants to turn it upside down. He can do that. He has a lot of influence as the greatest of all. Some people will disappear.”
Bleekemolen, however, does not believe Masi made the wrong call.
“It’s a shame and a bit bland,” he added. “There was no conscious attack on Hamilton. It just happened that way. Race director Masi decided to restart the race because in his eyes that suited the situation. Not to annoy Lewis.”