Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has said he can give ‘no assurances’ that driver Lewis Hamilton will return to Formula One.
The seven-time champion looked on course for a record-breaking eighth with just a lap to go at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the last race of the season.
However a controversial decision allowed rival Max Verstappen a clear run at him for the season’s final lap, and he was beaten into sixth by the Dutchman, giving the Red Bull man the win.
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Mercedes have since confirmed they will not appeal the decision despite their objections, one Wolff said that they would ‘never get over.’
Wolff also said he was ‘disillusioned’ as a result of the controversy, and that could see Hamilton move on from the sport.
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The 37-year-old Briton has a two-year contract, but said he would take time away after the disappointment.
Wolff said: "It's going to take a long time for us to digest what has happened on Sunday. I don't think we will ever come over it, that's not possible
"And certainly not him as a driver. I would very much hope the two of us and the rest of the team we can work through the events... But he will never overcome the pain and the distress that was caused on Sunday."
Of Hamilton's future, he said: "I would very much hope Lewis continues racing because he is the greatest driver of all time."
"As a racer his heart will say I need to continue because he's at the peak of his game," he continued.
"But we have to overcome the pain that was caused upon him on Sunday. He is a man with clear values."
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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
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