Lewis Hamilton has broken his long silence following last year's controversial Formula 1 finale, with a hint at his future in the championship.
The seven-time world drivers' champion, who missed out on an eighth such title when he was overtaken by Max Verstappen on the final lap of the 2021 season, has taken to Twitter with a cryptic message.
Hamilton has not spoken in public since that fateful night at the Yas Marina Circuit, missing the FIA prize giving ceremony which he was obliged to attend and only appearing in a knighthood ceremony at Windsor Castle.
Now, however, Hamilton has used social media to post a message which suggests he will indeed drive on this year.
“I've been gone. Now I'm back!” wrote Hamilton in that post, which included a photograph of him standing in front of a canyon, smiling.
I've been gone. Now I'm back! pic.twitter.com/Y8i0cgJXZq
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) February 5, 2022
The tweet is his first since December 12 (AEDT), after qualifying on the front row for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
He controlled much of the race which would follow, until a late Safety Car set up a one-lap dash to the finish, when Verstappen seized the initiative.
Race director Michael Masi's handling of that Safety Car period has been hotly debated, with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff among those to suggest a “disillusioned” Hamilton could quit Formula 1 as a result.