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Hamilton doubters warned: The tiger's tail has been pulled

Lewis Hamilton spent the winter away from the media spotlight following the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but now he is back and gearing up for the 2022 season.

Ex-Formula 1 driver turned pundit Karun Chandhok believes that Max Verstappen's controversial 2021 title win has "pulled the tail on the tiger" for Lewis Hamilton. Chandhok, who raced against Hamilton during their junior formula careers, has predicted a fierce on-track response from the seven-time World Champion in 2022 after a winter that left fans fearing he could walk away from the sport. Hamilton ended the 2021 season in sublime form but could do little to stop what would have been an eighth crown slipping from his grasp. Speaking to the media ahead of the new season, Hamilton said: "If you think what you saw at the end of last year was my best, wait until you see this year." And after a winter spent out of the media spotlight, Chandhok is expecting Hamilton to return seeking revenge. "One of two things was going to happen [after Abu Dhabi]: either Lewis was going to get disillusioned with the sport, or you'll pull the tail on the tiger. I suspect we've got the latter," said Chandhok, speaking to Sky Sports F1 .

Di Resta warns not to underestimate Hamilton

Hamilton may have turned 37 during the winter break, the age at which Michael Schumacher announced his initial retirement, but he remains at the very top of his game as the 2022 campaign approaches. This season he will be paired with 24-year-old George Russell at Mercedes, a driver tipped by many to be the team's next World Champion. While Paul di Resta - another ex-F1 driver turned Sky pundit - expects to see Russell take the fight to Hamilton, he has warned that Hamilton's relentlessness should not be underestimated. "George is absolutely superb in qualifying; there's no doubt he'll pull laps out and surprise Lewis," di Resta told Sky Sports F1 . "But I think people underestimate Lewis and how relentless he is in the race. He's an absolute animal when it comes to what he can get out of the car."

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