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F1 news LIVE: Lewis Hamilton urged not to retire and has ‘informed Mercedes of decision’

Follow all the latest news and updates from the world of Formula 1

Jack Rathborn
Friday 24 December 2021 19:35
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World champion Verstappen reflects on 'insane, intense, and crazy' season

Lewis Hamilton’s future in Formula 1 remains a hot topic as we enter the off-season with the Briton yet to clarify whether he will return with Mercedes following a crushing loss in the title race to Max Verstappen.

The Briton has gone off the radar since defeat at the thrilling Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, sparking speculation over whether he will return as teammate to new Mercedes driver George Russell.

There is expectation that the seven-time world champion will be back, with Formula 1 chief Stefano Domenicali adamant Hamilton will “recharge the his batteries and come back with even more desire than before to win an eighth world title.”

But the impact of Russell’s arrival, replacing Valtteri Bottas, will prove fascinating and may change the dynamic of the title race between Hamilton and Verstappen, with the possibility of a third title contender - or more, should the new rules shift the balance of power.

During the fraught and intense 2021 season, incidents on track cost Red Bull close to an eye-watering €4m, the third-highest figure among all drivers behind Mick Schumacher of Haas (€4.2m) and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (€4.1m). Verstappen’s tally is more than three times that of his fierce rival Hamilton, who set Mercedes back €1.2m over the year, according to Sky Germany.

Of course the Dutchman, who clinched his maiden world title in thrilling but controversial fashion at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, would put some of that cost down to Hamilton himself after blaming the Briton for their high-speed incident at Copse Corner during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, one of the fastest turns in Formula 1 where the pair made contact and Verstappen was sent flying across the gravel into the barriers. Follow all the latest F1 news below.

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Decision-making must improve from those in charge of Formula One, says Toto Wolff, if the off-track discussions and controversies from this year are not to be repeated in future.

Much of the recently finished season was embroiled in recriminations, appeals and complaints, with drivers and team chiefs alike unsure of how or why certain rulings were handed out.

The biggest and most obvious of those was of course in the finale at Abu Dhabi, where Max Verstappen won the race and the title in the final lap after Michael Masi’s decision to take the safety car away after unlapping only the cars between the Red Bull driver and then-leader Lewis Hamilton, who ultimately finished second.

Wolff and Mercedes were furious at the call which was season-deciding and appeared to have no precedent, and the boss says it was symptomatic of what went on throughout the entire campaign.

Full report:

Toto Wolff claims F1’s ‘inconsistent’ decision-making led to 2021 controversies

The Mercedes chief was frequently involved in post-match discussions over calls which went for or against his team’s cars

Karl Matchett24 December 2021 19:00
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“It’s McLaren 1-2 at Monza...”

It produced one of the shocks of the season, with Lando Norris getting past Charles Leclerc into second meaning the top two podium spots in Italy went to the same team which wasn’t Red Bull or Mercedes for a change.

It also earned Lando the best overtake of the year award.

Karl Matchett24 December 2021 18:40
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F1 news

He’d no doubt have preferred that many Grand Prix victories rather than Driver of the Day awards, but Sergio Perez definitely played a big part in the title race and the season as a whole regardless!

Karl Matchett24 December 2021 18:20
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F1 news

Bernie Ecclestone believes Lewis Hamilton will retire from Formula One due to the disappointment of losing the world title in a dramatic season finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton was denied a record eighth world title in agonising fashion after Max Verstappen passed him on the last lap to collect his maiden F1 championship. The victory was a controversial one, though, after FIA race director Michael Masi came under fire for his interpretation of rules relating to lapped cars under safety car conditions in the closing stages.

And former F1 chief executive Ecclestone does not believe Hamilton will return for the 2022 season, which starts in Bahrain in March.

Full report:

Bernie Ecclestone tips Lewis Hamilton to quit F1 after missing out on title

The former F1 supremo thinks the seven-time world champion will walk away from the sport.

Karl Matchett24 December 2021 17:59
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F1 news

Formula One needs to clarify its rulings and make it faster to understand what any outcome of incidents will be if it is to move on from a controversial 2021 season.

That’s the view of Nico Rosberg, the 2016 world champion, who told Sky Sports that a change in FIA president, the off-season and the way the recent campaign ended all provide F1 with the need and the potential for immediate change.

Being clear about which incidents are worthy of punishment will leave drivers in the know about what they can and can’t do, he explained, while the post-race discussions and counter-appeals would also become a thing of the past if everybody knew which offences would be punished.

“The sport needs to make progress,” Rosberg said.

“It starts even with all the overtaking, the wheel-to-wheel action.”

Full report:

F1 rules must be ‘easier to understand’ to avoid controversy repeat

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton clashed frequently on the track and there was rarely a clear consensus on what each outcome should have been

Karl Matchett24 December 2021 17:20
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F1 news

Decision-making must improve from those in charge of Formula One, says Toto Wolff, if the off-track discussions and controversies from this year are not to be repeated in future.

“It is a wider problem. If you look at most of the controversies that have happened this year, it was about decisions, sporting decisions on the track, the inconsistency of the execution of the regulations on track.

“It is one thing to drive hard and to have differences of opinion among the drivers and the teams, it is in the nature of the game.

“But inconsistent decision making leads to controversies, leads to polarisation and that was the grounds for many of the totally unnecessary controversies on the track.”

Toto Wolff claims F1’s ‘inconsistent’ decision-making led to 2021 controversies

The Mercedes chief was frequently involved in post-match discussions over calls which went for or against his team’s cars

Karl Matchett24 December 2021 17:00
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F1 news

Charles Leclerc says he’s still working on finding a balance between performance in qualifying and race days, but he has picked out one area he feels has improved in his driving during the year.

“Definitely the race management in general,” he said to Motorsport Week.

“I think since early 2020 I’ve started to say it’s one of my weaknesses, especially after 2019 when I’ve had a lot of good qualifyings but then in the race I was struggling a bit more.

“We were struggling a bit more as a team, but also as a driver I was struggling more than others so I put a lot of work into it in 2020, I got much better and I think in 2021 it’s actually one of my strengths now.”

Karl Matchett24 December 2021 16:40
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F1 news

Nick Yelloly has given reason for hope to those who want to see Aston Martin challenge far more next year, saying the initial tests on the new car are positive.

“We have been working on the 2022 car for a long time, with our first running in the sim back in March,” he said.

“Obviously when we get the new car on the track, that will be the main point. But in general, the car feels very, very good and we test each new idea out on the simulator before even thinking about any build process.

“We have made big gains since March and now we look forward to the February running in Barcelona.”

Karl Matchett24 December 2021 16:20
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F1 news

Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg has demanded the FIA make it far clearer who is in the right or wrong when incidents occur on the track, by providing clarity in the rules on overtaking and more.

“The sport needs to make progress,” Rosberg said to Sky.

“It starts even with all the overtaking, the wheel-to-wheel action.

“The FIA needs to tighten all that up so that we don’t have all these discussions.

“It would be better for the sport if it was much easier to understand. Also in wheel-to-wheel racing; who is now right and wrong, what needs to be done. A quick decision is made, and we go on.

“We need to get rid of all these discussions, that’s important.”

Karl Matchett24 December 2021 16:00
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F1 2021 season recap

Here’s every race and every podium place from the season just ended - which races will linger longest in the memory?

Bahrain - Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas

Italy - Verstappen, Hamilton, Norris

Portugal - Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas

Spain - Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas

Monaco - Verstappen, Sainz, Norris

Azerbaijan - Perez, Vettel, Gasly

France - Verstappen, Hamilton, Perez

Austria - Verstappen, Hamilton, Bottas

Austria - Verstappen, Bottas, Norris

Great Britain - Hamilton, Leclerc, Bottas

Hungary - Ocon, Hamilton, Sainz

Belgium - Verstappen, Russell, Hamilton

Netherlands - Verstappen, Hamilton, Bottas

Italy - Ricciardo, Norris, Bottas

Russia - Hamilton, Verstappen, Sainz

Turkey - Bottas, Verstappen, Perez

United States - Verstappen, Hamilton, Perez

Mexico - Verstappen, Hamilton, Perez

Brazil - Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas

Qatar - Hamilton, Verstappen, Alonso

Saudi Arabia - Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas

Abu Dhabi - Verstappen, Hamilton, Sainz

Karl Matchett24 December 2021 15:40

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