Lewis Hamilton has broken his near two month social media silence by sharing a snap of himself looking very smiley at the Grand Canyon, alongside the caption ‘I’ve been gone. Now I’m back!’.
Now this doesn’t exactly confirm the seven-time world champion’s return to racing in Formula 1, but his announcement has certainly kicked up a fuss in the F1 world.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team further fuelled speculation that Hamilton will return to the driver’s seat in the fast approaching 2022 season by reposting his post, and for some publications that is enough to ‘virtually confirm’ his return.
However, many fans are holding back hope until an official announcement by the team, but time is quickly running out as the first race on the 2022 calendar is just around the corner.
Hamilton came tantalisingly close to winning a record breaking eighth World Drivers’ Championship in the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi, but a controversial call courtesy of race director Micheal Masi took the impending victory away from him in the dying moments of the race.
The Brit’s sole public appearance since his disheartening defeat came a couple of days after the Abu Dhabi GP, when Hamilton received his knighthood in Windsor.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff later described Hamilton as feeling “disillusioned” with the sport and its governing body, and while Mercedes initially opted against pursuing their Abu Dhabi appeal in December, an FIA inquiry has been ongoing into how the final race was handled.
With two years remaining in his contract with Mercedes and recent developments considered, Hamilton could very well get back behind the wheel, but his future might be influenced by the findings of the inquiry.
The FIA is due to discuss the findings at the next F1 Commission meeting on Monday, February 14, and says that it will be speaking to all the grid’s drivers beforehand.
Mercedes are set to unveil their new car for the 2022 season four days later, and have said that their drivers will be involved, so the speculation surrounding Hamilton could well be put to rest then.
Meanwhile, the FIA’s inquiry will be made public on Friday, March 18, two days before the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, March 20.