F1 news LIVE: Lewis Hamilton future unclear as Valtteri Bottas reveals Mercedes issue

Lewis Hamilton’s future remains unclear with the seven-time world champion remaining off the grid for the time being after a bitter ending to the 2021 season for the Briton and Mercedes as Max Verstappen snatched the title from their grasp in a thrilling final lap in Abu Dhabi.

There is plenty of speculation and news surrounding the new season with new rules and regulations introduced to bring greater variety, while the manner of the finale last season has ensured discussions remain ongoing between Mercedes, Toto Wolff and the FIA, with Michael Masi’s decisions and performance scrutinised further. There is even a two-month wait for the results of the FIA’s inquiry into the highly controversial ending to the race, with Formula One’s governing body confirming their findings will be released on the eve of the opening weekend of the 2022 F1 season.

Away from Hamilton and Mercedes, there is a shuffle on the grid with plenty of drivers out of contract and more speculation surrounding who will emerge as part of a fresh-look team for the 2022 campaign. Sergio Perez did wonders for Verstappen's title hopes with a fine drive in Abu Dhabi, but his future remains unclear with Red Bull. Elsewhere Carlos Sainz at Ferrari, Fernando Alonso at Alpine, Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri, Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, Nicholas Latifi at Williams, Alex Albon at Williams, Guanyu Zhou at Alfa Romeo and Mick Schumacher at Haas.

Mercedes will need the FIA to mend their relationship with race director Michael Masi after withdrawing their appeals of the result in Abu Dhabi on the condition that the FIA would analyse the closing stages of the race, in order to “improve the robustness of the rules, governance and decision-making in Formula One”.

Meanwhile newly-elected FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been in touch with Hamilton as the governing body looks to regain the seven-time champion’s trust in the sport, but the results of the inquiry are said to be crucial in whether they are successful. Follow all the latest F1 news below:

Formula 1 news

  • Mercedes ‘confident’ Lewis Hamilton won’t retire

  • FIA outlines details of key Abu Dhabi Grand Prix inquiry

  • Hamilton ‘sabbatical year’ raised as possibility for 2022

  • Valtteri Bottas admits Hamilton’s ‘dominance’ a hindrance at Mercedes

  • Michael Masi was ‘overwhelmed’ by F1 season finale, claims Bernie Ecclestone

  • Lando Norris opens up on racing at Monaco GP

Valtteri Bottas claims Lewis Hamilton dominance a hindrance at Mercedes

08:52 , Jack Rathborn

Valtteri Bottas claims Lewis Hamilton’s dominance was a hindrance to him at Mercedes.

The Finn was praised for his role in helping Mercedes land all five constructors’ titles during his tenure with his impressive teamwork and performances.

But Bottas has now revealed what he learned with the Silver Arrows ahead of a lead role at Alfa Romeo.

“I’ve been in a position that I’ve got to know Lewis pretty well as a human being as well, not just as a Formula 1 champion, and learned that he fully deserves everything he’s achieved,” he told GPFans. “He’s got the talent, but then he puts that into good use and he works really hard.

“Obviously, his lifestyle is also different in a way that, he might be in New York just a day before the race weekend, whatever, doing other things. But when he is in his working mode and in this Formula 1 mode, he’s never leaving any stone unturned and he’s always pushing the team a lot.

“I feel like in the last few years, he’s been more in a lead role, and for me, it’s been quite difficult to try and take a lead role, because he’s been, obviously, here before and he’s pretty dominant in the way he works with a team. Also, setting up the car for sure, I’ve learned a few things, but also many [other] things.”

Lando Norris lifts lid on what it’s like to race at Monaco GP

08:41 , Jack Rathborn

Lando has revealed what it feels like to drive around the Monaco Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old finish fifth in the 2021 edition of the race, but it is during qualifying that the Brit admits he becomes concerned when having to drive at the absolute limit.

Michael Masi was ‘overwhelmed’ by F1 season finale, claims Bernie Ecclestone

08:33 , Jack Rathborn

Ex-Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone believes race director Michael Masi was “overwhelmed” by the 2021 season.

“He was in many cases overwhelmed with his job the whole season and maybe shouldn’t have had it at all,” Ecclestone told BILD. But it was the right decision to let them race.”

“About being robbed, it’s complete and utter nonsense. If you want to think about it carefully, on the first lap of that race he [Hamilton] went off the circuit and came back on again and Verstappen stayed on the circuit and did absolutely nothing wrong.

“Lewis wasn’t punished at all for that so he shouldn’t be complaining too much. These things happen all the time in sports. We shouldn’t blame the race director, he did exactly what was the right thing to do.”

Hamilton ‘sabbatical year’ raised as possibility for 2022

08:27 , Jack Rathborn

Lewis Hamilton could take a “sabbatical year” from Formula One if he does not receive assurances from the FIA that there will be changes to how its rules are enforced ahead of next season, it was been warned.

Hamilton lost out on a record-breaking eighth F1 title to Max Verstappen on the last lap of the season at a hugely controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last month.

The 36-year-old is still yet to add any further comment on the result of the race, after Mercedes withdrew their appeal of Verstappen’s championship victory.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff did reveal, however, that Hamilton had been left “disillusioned” by how the closing stages of the Grand Prix were allowed to unfold by race director Michael Masi.

In withdrawing their appeals in the aftermath of the race, Mercedes confirmed that would “actively work” with the FIA to “build a better Formula One”.

FIA outlines details on Abu Dhabi Grand Prix inquiry

08:23 , Jack Rathborn

The FIA have outlined the process and next steps for the inquiry into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

They plan to discuss the deployment of the Safety Car, which ultimately led to Max Verstappen passing Lewis Hamilton to become world champion.

It has been reported that Hamilton is waiting on the results of the inquiry before deciding whether to return to the sport in 2022.

The FIA say the results will be published on 18 March.

Mercedes ‘confident’ Lewis Hamilton won’t retire

08:22 , Jack Rathborn

Mercedes are quietly confident that Lewis Hamilton will resist retirement and continue his glittering career in Formula One next season.

There has been speculation that the seven-time world champion could walk away from the sport following the bitter ending to the 2021 campaign in Abu Dhabi with Max Verstappen edging him out in the title race.

But The Times report that the Briton is ramping up training to remain in shape in his mountain home in Colorado.

Hamilton is also expected at the pre-season testing next month in Barcelona and further testing in Bahrain in March.

Sergio Perez backed over Lewis Hamilton’s ‘dangerous driving’ claim

08:21 , Jack Rathborn

Red Bull driver programme boss Helmut Marko has defended Sergio Perez by claiming his driving tactics in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix were “very fair” despite objection from Lewis Hamilton.

“He slowed down Hamilton by eight seconds in two laps, but in a very fair way,” Marko told ServusTV after Hamilton’s “dangerous” accusation.

“Of course he said ‘dangerous driving’ again, we know that.

“He is incredibly loyal and a team player. Of course, we have discussed certain scenarios with him and he then delivers them – and without grumbling or any rebellion or questioning.”