Max Verstappen has urged Lewis Hamilton to remain in Formula 1 and fight for his record-breaking eighth world title in 2022. The newly crowned world champion's message came after Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was unable to confirm if the seven-time champion will be on the grid next season owing to the nature of his loss in 2021.

Hamilton was just over three kilometres away from winning his eighth F1 Drivers' Championship title, when a controversial decision from FIA race director Michael Masi gave Verstappen an opportunity to snatch it away. The Dutchman overtook the Briton on the final lap at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday to claim his maiden title.

Mercedes were incensed with the FIA and launched a double protest in the immediate aftermath of the race - both of which were later rejected by the race stewards. While Mercedes chose not to appeal the decision further, Wolff was clear that the team felt robbed off a Drivers' championship.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen is the first Dutchman to win the Formula One title KAMRAN JEBREILI/POOL via AFP

The FIA have set up a panel to investigate the decisions made during the race to ensure the a similar situation does not arise going forward, and Wolff is hopeful that all the teams and drivers, who were also confused, can help. Despite Mercedes' decision, he confirmed that Hamilton remains aggrieved, and both Wolff and the seven-time champ chose to skip the FIA prize giving gala in Paris on Thursday.

"Of course, I can understand that the first few days, after a race like that, you're not happy," Verstappen said, speaking at the gala in Paris, as quoted on GP Fans. "You should also understand this is racing and these things can happen to you."

"I think he should just look back at what he has achieved, and that should give him a lot of comfort and that drive to keep on going," he added. "He is still trying to challenge for that eighth title, and he can do that again next year, so I don't see any reason why to give up or stop now."

Hamilton is contracted to Mercedes until the end of the 2023 season, and is is widely believed that he will return to the grid when the new era of F1 gets underway in 2022. The Briton will partner compatriot George Russell, who will replace Valtteri Bottas for the upcoming campaign and beyond.

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