Mercedes have already been sent Lewis Hamilton warning amid retirement threat – 'Deluded'


Mercedes have already been sent Lewis Hamilton warning amid retirement threat – 'Deluded'

Mercedes have already been warned about the potential ramifications of losing Lewis Hamilton, with it possible the Briton might walk away from Form

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Mercedes have already been warned about the potential ramifications of losing Lewis Hamilton, with it possible the Briton might walk away from Formula One in the coming weeks. Hamilton’s future in the sport is thought to be heavily contingent on the findings of an FIA investigation into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s chances of winning a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ Championship were scuppered by the controversial handling of the race by race director Michael Masi.

There have been suggestions, which Mercedes have denied, that the Silver Arrows are pushing for Masi to be dismissed.

What’s for sure is that the Silver Arrows are still angry at how the final lap of the race, which saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen overtake leader Hamilton for his maiden title, unfolded.

And it was claimed earlier in January that Hamilton will wait to decide on whether he returns to F1 until the results of the inquiry are released, though the FIA have since said they will not confirm the outcome until March 18, two days before the first race of the 2022 season.

The clouds of doubt therefore remain with it unclear whether the 37-year-old, who has been non-existent on social media since Abu Dhabi, will really retire or not.

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And Eddie Jordan, the former owner of F1 constructor Jordan Grand Prix who gave Michael Schumacher his debut in the sport, has already warned how difficult it would be for Mercedes to replace Hamilton if he retired.

Verstappen joins Nico Rosberg as one of only two drivers since 2014 to deny Hamilton the championship with the Briton having become the only driver ever to surpass 100 pole positions and 100 wins.

Speaking last year, Jordan spoke of the challenges that the Silver Arrows would face upon losing Hamilton. Then, the driver’s contract had run out and he was negotiating a new long-term deal with the team.

Discussions took a lot longer than expected however and he only signed a new deal in early February, penning a one-year extension. He then signed another two-year agreement in July.

But speaking before Hamilton had put pen to paper, Jordan warned Mercedes they would be “deluded” to think they could adequately replace the seven-time world champion.

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“Lewis Hamilton is the jewel in the crown,” Jordan told the BBC’s This Sporting Life podcast. “He’s the one every TV station wants to interview.

“Mercedes are probably saying a lot of this is to do with the car and we’ve given him an outstanding chance to be world champion because he has the best car. That’s not in dispute.

“However, if they think they can replace Lewis Hamilton with another driver and have the same element of success then I think they are deluded.

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“And one thing’s for sure Mercedes and (team boss) Toto Wolf will not be easily deluded. He’s a very smart guy.

“He knows exactly the value of Lewis Hamilton and I think they will sit down and come to a good solution because the world of F1 needs Lewis Hamilton in it.”

Those words still ring true now, albeit in different circumstances. Mercedes will be desperate not to lose Hamilton on the eve of the 2022 season knowing how difficult it would be to replace him at such a late stage.

Instead they will hope that the FIA can take action and that Hamilton can put aside his disappointment and return to the grid to join George Russell in a new-look Mercedes line-up.

Amid the uncertainty over Hamilton’s future in F1, Jordan last month spoke to talkSPORT to make it clear he expects that the Briton will be back.

He said: “Lewis will never want to go out seven times world champion, he’s never one to go out on the back foot.

“He’ll want to go out with all guns blazing, and in my opinion this gives him a stronger action to fight next year for the championship which I really do believe he can win.

“My guess this is a great opportunity for him to emerge at the end of next season saying ‘well done to Max, he beat me the previous year, but I beat him this year in a fair and understanding way, and now I’m retiring guys, that’s my eighth title and here we go enjoy it.’

“Is he going to throw it all away just because of the outcome of the last race in Abu Dhabi?

“My gut feeling is – I know this kid since he was very, very young – I’ve been in contact with his dad Anthony who’s a magnificent sporting person and in my opinion, when he actually settles this and he gets through Christmas, he’ll be back fighting again, probably harder and better than ever before.”