GUEST COLUMN: Lewis Hamilton is the GOAT, but now also the Ghost

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

By Bonnie Cehovet

I had to calm down before I could even attempt to write this article. Abu Dhabi, and the ending to the 2021 F1 season, was a debacle. There is no other way to describe it.

The race itself ran well, and Lewis Hamilton drove like the GOAT that he is. Michael Masi changing the rules in midstream to suit himself (and Red Bull) is a huge foul that F1 does not seem to want to address. Oh, they are promising an “investigation”, and “rules changes if necessary”, but Masi’s name has never been mentioned. He appears to be F1’s golden boy.

Lewis Hamilton has not been heard from since the race, with the exception of him receiving his (long overdue) Knighthood from Prince Charles. I was very pleased to see that Lewis was accompanied by his mother to the ceremony. Apart from this, Lewis has not been heard from on social media. He has also unfollowed everyone that he was following on Instagram. Incoming FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has indicated that he reached out to Lewis but has not had any response. Lewis was also quiet on his birthday, January 7th.

It appears that he is doing a good job of ghosting everyone. He certainly has reason to do so – the race in Abu Dhabi, and the 2021 F1 Drivers’ Championship, was handed to Max Verstappen by Michael Masi. To lose honestly is one thing, to lose through the “in your face” of Masi’s actions is something else entirely. I feel that we should allow Lewis all the time he needs to regroup and get himself set mentally for the coming season.

There are those that are whispering loudly about the possibility of Lewis retiring. Lewis has said no such thing. He just signed a two-year contract with Mercedes, and I doubt that he would throw that away.

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Then there is the little tidbit about “punishing” Lewis for not attending the 2021 F1 Award-Giving Gala (which is a requirement for the top three drivers). Ben Sulayem has stated that “if there is any breach, there is no forgiveness in this”. To date, I have not seen any decision being made about this.

So there is your Ghost. Here is the GOAT: most wins in F1 (103), most pole positions (103), most points (4164.5), most podium finishes (182), most consecutive race starts (266), most consecutive points finishes (48), most laps led (5396), most races won leading every lap (23), most wins at different circuits (31), the only driver to win a race in every season completed.

Many F1 drivers, past and present, have come out saying that they felt the situation in Abu Dhabi was not handled well by Michael Masi. Other sports personalities have also come out in favor of Lewis. I do not expect the 2022 F1 season to be an easy one. Aside from the fact that there are new rules, and completely new designs for the cars, there is an aftertaste from Abu Dhabi that is not going away soon. I will be very surprised if Michael Masi is held accountable for anything. F1 will continue to ignore its own rules.

At the end of the 2022 season, I feel there is a good chance that Mercedes will take both the drivers’ and the constructors’ championship. Under the leadership of “The Boss” Toto Wolff we have seen consummate professionalism from this team, even when it is obvious that F1 has changed its rules in the past to take Mercedes down.

Lewis Hamilton is the GOAT, and he is the Ghost. Both faces are necessary for him to be the best that he can be. Lewis – we stand with you!

“Still I Rise”

Be sure to visit Member Bonnie Cehovet’s website!

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