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Red Bull chief Christian Horner admits he WANTS Lewis Hamilton to race in F1 this year and reignite his battle with Max Verstappen as 'he's still driving at an incredible level'

Daily Mail
Daily Mail
 2022-01-26

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted he wants Lewis Hamilton to reignite his rivalry with Max Verstappen again this year amid talk of a potential retirement.

Seven-time Formula One champion Hamilton has refused to commit to the 2022 season after losing the world title to Red Bull's Verstappen last year in dramatic circumstances.

Hamilton was overtaken on the final lap by the Dutchman in the winner-takes-all Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following a safety car drama but Horner wants the Briton to return to F1 this year, even though Verstappen would be a heavy favourite to regain his crown without him.

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Red Bull chief Christian Horner (right) admits he wants Lewis Hamilton (left) to be in F1 in 2022
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Horner is hoping the Mercedes man reignites his rivalry with Red Bull's Max Verstappen (right)

'I certainly hope that Lewis will be around this year,' the Red Bull chief told World Is One News. 'He's still driving at an incredible level, the two drivers last year were in a league of their own.

'But ultimately, it's his choice, it's his career, it's his decision, so I'm sure he will decide to do what's best for him, what he wants to do, and that's none of our business.'

Hamilton and Mercedes complained to the FIA about race director Michael Masi's decision to allow lapped cars to unlap themselves, leaving Verstappen a clear and unobstructed run at the Mercedes driver on the last lap.

Earlier this month, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff met with new F1 boss Muhammed Ben Sulayem over Masi's conduct and demanded that the Australian was sacked, or risk the possibility of Hamilton walking away from the sport.

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Hamilton has yet to commit to his F1 future after last year's shocking Abu Dhabi GP finale

Wolff has remained silent about Hamilton's future since the Abu Dhabi race but did talk up the Mercedes man's future alongside new team-mate George Russell earlier this month.

Russell has joined Mercedes from Williams for the upcoming season and Wolff was keen to play down any talk of the two British drivers failing to get on.

'I would wish that we had two lightning-fast drivers fighting for victory,' Wolff told Auto Motor und Sport, when asked on what he expects from his new pairing. 'And if not, then we need these drivers to get our car back on the winning track.

'The measure of Lewis is often wrongly questioned. Even after the events in Abu Dhabi, he immediately congratulated Max (Verstappen).Lewis only wants one thing: fair competition on the track. We will deliver that.'

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Mercedes chief Toto Wolff (right) has also remained silent on what Hamilton's F1 future is

Earlier on Wednesday, F1 announced its new changes for the 2022 season along with the testing dates - with race weekends now condensed from four days into three

Drivers will now carry out their media duties on the Friday morning instead of Thursday, with practice taking place later on Friday. Saturday will remain qualifying day and Sunday will stay as the race day.

The new regulations state media activities will be for a 'maximum duration of two hours, finishing no later than one hour and 30 minutes prior to the start of P1'. All three practice sessions remain an hour long.

The changes come alongside announcement that pre-season testing in Barcelona will run from February 23-25 and a second test will be held in Bahrain from March 10-12.

Bahrain will also host the first race of the season the following weekend. It ends on 20 November at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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