Lewis Hamilton was reportedly considering leaving Mercedes after the inquest that followed post the crash that took him and teammate Nico Rosberg out of the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this season.
The pair was running 1-2 before the two collided at Turn 4 on the opening lap leaving the Silver Arrows empty handed and eventually gifting a victory to its rivals, picked by Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.
The rumour was further fuelled by the fact that Mercedes roped in rookie Pascal Wehrlein to replace Esteban Ocon, yet to make his Formula One debut at the time, to drive for Mercedes in the test held at the circuit in the week after the race.
Mercedes had cited that it just needed a more experienced driver to test the car although in light of the latest revelations it seems that the Brackley-based outfit intended to get Wehrlein up to speed as a potential replacement for Hamilton, if the triple champion had walked away.
Hamilton neither confirmed nor denied that when probed by Sky Sports’ Martin Brundle after the season-finale Abu Dhabi GP. “That’s all private stuff,” Hamilton shrugged. “It’s all in the past, so it doesn’t really matter.”
Presenter Ted Kravitz later added confirming Sky’s “well played sources” that Hamilton had “decided to quit the Mercedes team” and that Wehrlein’s drafting in the test was in response to that decision.