Sir Lewis Hamilton has broken a near two-month silence by declaring he is “back” in his first social media post since the controversial Formula 1 title decider in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton lost the final race of the 2021 season – and consequentially the title – in an extraordinarily dramatic fashion, with the notorious conclusion seeing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen emerge victorious.
Hamilton had led for almost all of the race and had been on course to win a record-breaking eighth world title, but he was overtaken on the final lap by Verstappen after a safety car came on the track to deal with a Nicholas Latifi crash just five laps from the end.
The Mercedes driver, who was denied a record eighth championship, gave one short interview in parc ferme after the race but other than that had been conspicuous by his silence – until Saturday night.
In his first update on social media in 56 days, Hamilton posted on Twitter and Instagram: “I’ve been gone. Now I’m back!”
The short but sweet post accompanied a picture of Hamilton smiling, seemingly at the Grand Canyon in the US.
Hamilton’s sole public appearance since the Abu Dhabi GP came a few days after the crushing defeat, when he received his knighthood in Windsor.
Hamilton’s social media return comes amid a crucial period for F1 and the seven-time champion’s future.
While Mercedes opted against pursuing their Abu Dhabi appeal in December, an FIA inquiry has been ongoing into how the final race was handled and Sky Sports understands it is key to Hamilton’s future.
Hamilton has two years remaining on his Mercedes contract and had previously voiced his excitement about the sport’s new-for-2022 rules and cars, although is keeping a keen eye on what the FIA concludes.
The sport’s governing body is due to discuss the findings at the next F1 Commission meeting on 14 February, and says it will be speaking to all the grid’s drivers beforehand.
Mercedes are then launching their new car four days later, and say their drivers will be involved.
The FIA’s inquiry, meanwhile, will be made public on 18 March, two days before the season-opening Bahrain GP.