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Serena Williams rekindles controversy surrounding number of Hamilton F1 titles

Serena Williams, the former tennis sensation, stirred social media by asserting that Lewis Hamilton deserves to have nine F1 titles to his name

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Serena Williams boldly supports Lewis Hamilton’s eighth F1 championship, declaring he “should already have nine.” Her endorsement comes after Toto Wolff’s revelation of “personal anger” driving the quest.

Serena Williams Hamilton F1
Lewis Hamilton looked set to win a record eight F1 drivers’ title in 2021, before a late safety car allowed Max Verstappen to pass and win the championship. (Image Credit: Joe Portlock – Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Hamilton has faced challenges since the end of the fractious 2021 title fight, remaining winless for over the subsequent two seasons, primarily due to Red Bull’s dominance, led by three-time world champion Max Verstappen, who has now secured back-to-back-to-back drivers’ championships after Hamilton’s four consecutive titles from 2017-2020.

Dynamics of dissatisfaction

The discontent with the result at the end of the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi still sits fresh on the mind of Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff. Speaking to PA News Agency ahead of last weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix, the Austrian revealed:

“We are living in a hamster wheel where time passes so quickly that it doesn’t feel like it has been two years.

“You can see how quickly the pecking order changes. But, we have to look forward, learn from the past, and push now to make Lewis win quickly again.

“I have a personal anger and drive to make him win the eighth title because he should have it.”

First reported by PlanetF1, Serena Williams swiftly responded to Toto’s comments about Lewis Hamilton’s pursuit of an eighth title, igniting the fire for debate, saying: “He should have had 9 already. But…lemme be quiet.”

Her remark generated rapid engagement, accumulating 1,266 likes and sparking a flurry of comments from both supporters and critics.

The seasons in question that Williams alluded to were unspecified, only that she and many others believe Lewis Hamilton could have clinched two more world championship titles.

In 2007 – his maiden F1 campaign – Hamilton lost out on the championship under suspicious circumstances when his McLaren cut out for over 30 seconds before jumping back to life during the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, thus costing him the opportunity to be the first rookie champion in F1 history.

The British driver has faced the unfortunate situation of being denied the title on the season’s final day three times. This highlights the tantalising what-if scenarios in Hamilton’s illustrious career, marked by triumphs and near-misses in pursuit of additional championship victories.

But one thing is for sure: the 2021 season finale has burned its way into the brains of all F1 fans, Serena Williams included.

Potential seasons Serena referenced

The most contentious moment unfolded during the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hamilton seemed poised for his fifth consecutive and record eighth world title, but a late safety car incident stirred controversy. Fellow championship protagonist Max Verstappen was able to eradicate Hamilton’s race lead when Michael Masi opted for a one-lap shootout.

Masi, the Race Director, did so by deciding to let the lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen pass and bring the safety car in on the same lap – which directly contravenes F1 rules. This contradiction was compounded by the rest of the lapped cars (behind Verstappen) not being allowed to return to the lead lap, which would have left Verstappen too far back to launch one final attack.

At the start of the safety car period, the Red Bull driver had pitted for fresh soft compound tyres. Capitalising on a substantial grip advantage, he executed a crucial overtake on Hamilton, who was running hard old tyres, to secure his first F1 drivers’ title.

In 2007 – his maiden F1 campaign – Hamilton lost out on the championship under suspicious circumstances when his McLaren cut out for over 30 seconds before jumping back to life during the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, thus costing him the opportunity to be the first rookie champion in F1 history.

In addition to Hamilton’s early gearbox issue, a three-stop strategy – whilst other teams ran with a two-stopper – further added to the young Briton’s frustrations. He finished the race in P7, enough for second in the championship, just one point behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Five years later, Hamilton would finally speak publically about the 2007 season. However, he remained cagey about the outcome, saying: “I didn’t know at the time. But I do now. It’s not something I can talk about.”

Mutually assured admiration

The admiration between the two global superstars, Hamilton and Williams, has never been a secret. The Mercedes driver showed his respect for the 23-time women’s singles grand slam champion on social media following her retirement.

Taking to Instagram following the announcement, Hamilton expressed his appreciation by sharing a number of photos of her with a caption full of praise and respect, which included saying:

“I remember watching her and Venus at their first games with my dad on TV. Seeing such talented women dominating a field where no one looked like them gave me hope. They made me believe that superheroes are real…”

Featured Image Credit: @sportbible on X

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