Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has dispelled concerns regarding Lewis Hamilton's future in the sport by stating that he is certain the British racer will return in 2022. Toto Wolff had sparked rumours about the seven-time world champion hanging up his helmet following the controversial end to the 2021 season, when Hamilton was beaten to the title by Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen.

Hamilton had one hand on the trophy as he was cruising to victory and a record-breaking eighth F1 world title at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, before a late safety car turned the race on its head. A controversial call by FIA race director Michael Masi gave Verstappen the opportunity to close the gap to his title rival. He overtook the Mercedes driver on the final lap and claimed the win and his maiden Drivers' Championship title.

The Mercedes team was distraught after the race, and team principal Toto Wolff stated that Hamilton was disillusioned with the sport and was unable to confirm if he will return in 2022. The Briton is yet to make a public statement after his post-race interview about the events that unfolded on Dec 12 at the Yas Marina circuit.

Toto Wolff
Toto Wolff is hoping for a clean title fight next weekend ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/POOL via AFP

It will be a massive blow to F1 and the Mercedes AMG Petronas team if Hamilton decides to call time on his illustrious career on the back of a controversial call made by the FIA, but F1 CEO Domenicali is certain that he will return "recharged" to stake his claim to an eighth Drivers' championship crown.

"Lewis Hamilton? I'm sure he will recharge his batteries and come back with even more desire than before to win the eighth world title," Domenicali said while receiving the 28th edition of the Bandini Trophy in Brisighella, as quoted by Gazzetta dello Sport.

Verstappen, who enjoyed an intense title battle with Hamilton in 2021, has also urged him not to walk away from the sport. The Dutchman is certain that the Mercedes driver will again be among the title challengers next year.

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