Oct 24, 2021; Austin, TX, USA; Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver Lewis Hamilton (44) of Team Great Britain drives during the United States Grand Prix Race at Circuit of the Americas. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since last December’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton has mostly been in radio silence. Regardless of one’s opinion of what happened in Abu Dhabi and whether or not Hamilton was screwed out of the championship, it no doubt has to suck falling just short of winning after such a hard-fought season. Even if that person has already won the championship seven times.

After that race, Hamilton seemingly left to go clear his head and avoided social media. But after nearly two months of being away, and countless speculation about if he was even coming back to F1, Hamilton has emerged with a pic of him from the Grand Canyon saying that he is back.

The end of the Formula 1 season wound up being controversial. With Hamilton and Max Verstappen in a tie entering Abu Dhabi, one just needed to finish ahead of the other (and be in the points) to win the title. Toward the end of the race, a safety car allowed Verstappen to pit and remain in 2nd, but had a few lapped cars in between he and Hamilton (who was leading). F1 race director Michael Masi allowed the lapped cars to speed past Hamilton and ended the safety car period to allow a one lap shootout for the championship. This sparked a debate on rules vs. entertainment because what Masi did was against the regulations but his discretion prevented an anti-climatic conclusion to one of the most exciting title fights in history. It made Hamilton a sitting duck as Verstappen and his fresh tires sped past Hamilton and he won his first championship.

I obviously don’t know Lewis Hamilton personally but when speculation came out that Hamilton might not come back as a result of what happened in Abu Dhabi, I didn’t really take that seriously. Even Mercedes teased the possibility with team principal Toto Wolff saying that Hamilton was “disillusioned” with F1 but even people who don’t know Hamilton can see how competitive he is. He’s a seven-time champion for that reason and he wasn’t going to have his career end in circumstances like that. A competitor might take some time to themselves to regroup but the guy was coming back and for all we know, he may come back as a different driver for 2022. The season begins March 20 in Bahrain.

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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