Lewis Hamilton continues to drop hints that he will be back on the grid when the 2022 season gets underway. It started with his return to social media over the weekend, and on Tuesday, he was spotted at the Mercedes headquarters, which clearly shows that he has begun making preparations for the new season.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has no doubt that the seven-time champion will return for the 2022 season, and the former Ferrari team principal is certain Hamilton will be "fully charged" going into the new campaign. The Mercedes driver still has a chance to break Michael Schumacher's record and become the first eight-time F1 world champion.

Hamilton thought the race result at the season finale in Abu Dhabi was manipulated to help Max Verstappen win his maiden world championship. The incident saw Hamilton disappear from public view since Dec 12 last year. The British racer has not spoken publicly since his controversial loss, but returned to social media over the weekend, which Domenicali believes is a sign that he will remain in F1 despite doubts circulating over his future.

"There was a total respect on his choice to be on silent mode," Domenicali told Sky Sports' Craig Slater.

Lewis Hamilton
Home comfort: Lewis Hamilton celebrates after finishing first in Friday qualifying at Silverstone LARS BARON/POOL

"Lewis has in front of him a possibility to be an eight-time world champion," the Italian added. "So I'm sure he is totally focused on these objectives because this year there will be so many new things, so many variables, that will allow this championship to be so attractive."

While Domenicali is hoping Hamilton and Verstappen rekindle their rivalry in 2022, the F1 chief is keen for more drivers to join the battle at the front of the grid. The sport is entering a new era, with FIA making a raft of regulation changes to help bring the field closer and make racing more exciting.

"My aspiration for F1 is there would not only be a rivalry between two drivers, but a rivalry between more drivers because we are in front of a step change for F1 in regards to the new cars," Domenicali said.

"My dream will be to have not only Max and Lewis fighting for that, but also having other drivers as part of the battle."

Lewis Hamilton
Max Verstappen won an epic season-long battle with reigning champion Lewis Hamilton ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP