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Lewis Hamilton breaks silence on 'surreal' Mercedes F1 return after Abu Dhabi heartbreak

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Lewis Hamilton has broken his silence on returning to Mercedes for the upcoming season, after a prolonged absence from the public eye following his agonising defeat in Abu Dhabi. FIA race director Michael Masi was sacked on Thursday for his role in the title decider at Yas Marina, which saw Max Verstappen snatch the world title on the final lap. 

Hamilton became ‘disillusioned’ with F1 in the aftermath of his defeat in December, according to Toto Wolff. 

The Mercedes team boss also refused to rule out the Brit’s retirement, with a two-month social media absence fuelling speculation that Hamilton’s time was up. 

At 37-years-old, however, the Stevenage-born star was back with the Silver Arrows team for their hotly-anticipated W13 launch on Friday. 

And as he prepares to fight for a record-breaking eighth world title, he shared his feelings on what it means to be back, and his outlook for the year ahead. 

“It’s very surreal to think it’s 10 year that I first came to the factory,” said Hamilton.

“Seeing George having his seat fitted – it feels very natural, him being here.

“The journey that Mercedes and I have been on has been phenomenal.

“This year, I haven’t really set any goals individually. I think naturally, every individual in his team has worked towards the ultimate goal of winning the world championship.

“It’s about raising the bar and doing what nobody has ever done before. We’ve done eight, now we’ve got to move onto the next one.”

Indeed, the Silver Arrows are on an unprecedented streak of Constructors’ Championship victories, and will gun for their ninth consecutive crown in 2022. 

Sweeping regulation changes could have their say on the title’s fate, however, with all teams anxious to get their new machines out on track and speed up the development process. 

The new cars have been designed to minimise the ‘dirty air’ that comes with following another driver, which should promote bumper-to-bumper racing for the season ahead. 

That could mean more close combat with Verstappen, after the pair notably came together at Monza and Silverstone in 2021. 

The Dutchman will be keen to regain his world title, particularly after the action that has been taken in direct response to the circumstances which led to his maiden crown in December. 

Masi’s marching orders have cleared the way for Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas to share the role on an alternating basis. 

The unlapping procedure behind safety cars, which was central to the drama in Abu Dhabi, are also set to be reassessed by the F1 Sporting Advisory Committee.



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Ruud van Nistelrooy makes next job decision as Man Utd plan coaching appointment

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That decision failed to pay off, however, with the Red Devils sacking Moyes after just 10 months in charge.

After the current West Ham boss came Van Gaal, who arrived with big things expected due to his past success at the likes of Barcelona and Ajax.

Giggs was hoping to get the Red Devils job himself, which was why he stayed, but both ended up leaving nearly six years ago.

When Jose Mourinho took over, he opted to maintain his close relationship with Rui Faria – who had previously worked under him at clubs such as Real Madrid and Chelsea.

Fair departed in the summer of 2018, though, with Michael Carrick then given a place on Mourinho’s bench.

Carrick stayed to work under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Norwegian also regularly picking up the thoughts of Phelan and Kieran McKenna throughout his spell in the dugout.

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