Mercedes have all but confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will return to the grid in 2022 amidst strong speculation that the British racer could call time on his illustrious Formula 1 career. The seven-time champion was denied a record breaking eighth world title by Max Verstappen in 2021, and the events that led to his loss saw him disappear from public with many believing that he will retire.

Hamilton looked to be cruising to his eighth Drivers' World Championship at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when a late safety car, and a controversial decision by FIA race director Michael Masi gave Verstappen the opportunity to steal the championship.

There remains no doubt that the Red Bull Racing driver is a deserved champion, but the strange call from Masi is what incensed Mercedes. The Silver Arrows team appealed the decision, while Hamilton complained that the race result was manipulated. Eventually, Mercedes decided to accept the decision by the stewards before congratulating Verstappen on his win.

Amidst the controversy, Hamilton went off the grid and has not been pictured in public apart from when he was knighted by Prince Charles at Windsor Castle. Even Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was unable to confirm if the Briton will return to the grid next season, after claiming that they were "disillusioned" with the sport.

However, Mercedes have now all but confirmed Hamilton's return to the grid with a cryptic tweet that suggests the former McLaren driver will come back to chase a record-breaking eighth title again in 2022. The 36-year-old is contracted to Mercedes until the end of the 2023 season, and will partner George Russell from 2022.

"Adversity causes some to break; others to break records," Mercedes wrote with a picture of Hamilton on their official Twitter account.

Lewis Hamilton
Back in business: Lewis Hamilton will race in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Giuseppe CACACE/POOL