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today is Aug 09, 2022

Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Yas Marina, 2021

Lewis Hamilton’s former team mate Jenson Button believes the Mercedes driver will return to Formula 1 this year, despite his ongoing silence following the controversial end to the 2021 world championship.

The seven-times champion hasn’t spoken publicly since he was interviewed by Button ahead of the podium ceremony at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff refused to attend the FIA’s post-season prize giving as the team was outraged by F1 race director Michael Masi’s decision to break with convention in his handling of the last-lap restart of the final round.

Earlier last year Hamilton signed a deal to continue driving for Mercedes for the next two seasons. But his continued silence has prompted speculation he may not return.

Button drove alongside Hamilton at McLaren from 2010 to 2012. He suspects his former team mate will return an attempt to break Michael Schumacher’s record of winning seven world championships.

“I haven’t got a clue but I do know I was the only person to interview Lewis after the last race,” said Button in an interview for ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

“I really do hope he will be racing. I think he will be racing. He wants to win that eighth title and be the most decorated Formula 1 driver in F1 history. And he will do that, I really do think so.”

Button, who was promoting his television series Radford Returns, admitted the Abu Dhabi race was “a controversial end to the season but you have to look at the season as a whole.”

“Formula 1 is in an amazing place, two fantastic drivers going at it every weekend,” he said. “I think everyone’s excited about the new season, the new regulations, and it’s all about the development of these cars through the year.”

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