The ending to the 2021 Formula One championship lingers in the air like a biblical swarm of locusts. Hamilton dominated the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and was cruising to a record 8th driver’s title before a late, late crash brought out the safety car with five laps to go. Thereafter, many believe the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was fixed, at the last minute with one lap to go. Did the FIA conspire to deny Lewis Hamilton his 8th world driver’s title? Did the FIA enable Max Verstappen to claim his first? The decision by Race Director Michael Masi to let only a select number of lapped cars through allowed the shark out of its cage. In this case, the shark, Max Verstappen, on brand new tyres hunted down and killed off Lewis Hamilton’s 8th title dream.
That debate will rage on, the decision making by Masi was at odd with racing regulations he is in charge of regulating. The FIA is extremely specific on how the rules are mandated and practiced. We know from personal experience, having covered Grand Prix events, just how regulated and demanding the FIA is.
The question is, if the FIA is so strict on how the rules are administered, why did they get it so wrong at Abu Dhabi? That debate will rage on for many years to come. For Lewis Hamilton, the Abu Dhabi result must have felt like a betrayal of trust.
Hamilton uses social media extensively. However, since Abu Dhabi, he has remained unusually silent. Not even a positive festive message on Christmas day. It gives the impression that Hamilton is in a state of ‘shock’, or going through an experience similar to the grieving process.
Hamilton’s boss and confidante, Toto Wolff, gave his thoughts on Hamilton’s current state of being during a media interview a few days ago.
“The silence is there, of course, because he simply lacks words. We are all wavering in emotions and Lewis most of all.”
“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.”
“Lewis was in the office [last week] with me and everyone else involved, and we were also in constant contact over those days,”
“What I told him before was that he should take those few hours paying homage to his life’s work so far and his performances, that he should try to take those positive moments with him.”
Hamilton will return to Formula One, he has no plans to retire just yet. One can guess, his silence will break eventually. As he contemplates the season just gone, the fire will return for 2022.