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Wolff casts doubt on Hamilton F1 return following "pain and distress" of Abu Dhabi

Wolff casts doubt on Hamilton F1 return following "pain and distress" of Abu Dhabi

Wolff casts doubt on Hamilton F1 return following "pain and distress" of Abu Dhabi

Wolff casts doubt on Hamilton F1 return following "pain and distress" of Abu Dhabi

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has cast doubt on whether Lewis Hamilton will return to F1 next season following the "pain and distress" suffered in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Wolff's comments come after Mercedes confirmed on Thursday morning it would not be appealing a stewards' verdict that followed Max Verstappen's controversial victory at the Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday.

Asked directly whether he had any doubts about the seven-time champion returning next season and seeing out the two-year extension that was agreed earlier this year, Wolff replied: "Lewis and I are disillusioned at the moment.

"Not disillusioned of the sport, we love this sport with every bone in our body, and we love it because the stopwatch never lies.

"But if we break that fundamental principle of sporting fairness and authenticity of the sport, then suddenly the stopwatch doesn't become relevant anymore because we are exposed to random decision making, and it's clear you fall out of love with it.

"You start to question that if all the work you have been putting in, all the sweat, tears and blood can actually be demonstrated, in terms of bringing the best possible performances on track because it can be taken away randomly.

"So it's going to take a long time for us to digest what happened on Sunday. I don't think we will ever get over it. That's not possible, and certainly not for him as a driver.

"I very much hope the two of us, and the rest of the team, work through the events, and we can, with the FIA and F1, utilise the situation to improve the sport going forward.

"But he will never overcome the pain and the distress that was caused on Sunday.

"To be honest, still today, I can't even understand what happened. I'm in disbelief, It still feels surreal."

Wolff simply 'hoping' Hamilton returns

Pushed on whether there was any doubt in his mind Hamilton will return next year, Wolff added: "On a human level it is so difficult because it is so disappointing.

"As I said before, we love this sport but then you start to question. You must never lose the big context of life. Formula 1 is just a sport, much worse things happen out there and we shouldn't fall into the trap of thinking this is the most important thing in the world.

"But it's our little microcosm where we have created values and beliefs and many of those were kicked on Sunday.

"So I would very much hope Lewis continues racing because he is the greatest driver of all time.

"When you look at it from the point of view of the last four races, he was dominant. There wasn't even a doubt who won the race, and that was worthy of winning the world championship.

"So we will be working through the events of the next weeks and months and as a racer, his heart will say 'I need to continue' because he is at the peak of his game.

"But we have to overcome the pain that was caused upon him on Sunday because he is also a man with clear values and that it's difficult to understand that happened."

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