Lewis Hamilton may appear to have resurfaced from his winter exile by showing up in a new video for Mercedes, but the short message he recorded is actually almost two months old.
Appearing in a Mercedes video, posted on the Motorsport.tv platform, Hamilton popped up alongside team boss Toto Wolff and new 2022 teammate George Russell to say "Happy New Year" to those celebrating the Lunar New Year on 30 January.
"May the New Year bring you luck and everything you wish for," Hamilton said.
Hamilton's appearance in the video has sparked reports elsewhere that his resurfacing proves retirement or a sabbatical is not on the cards for 2022.
Rumours continue to rage that the seven-time World Champion may choose not to race this year after his disappointment over the handling of the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton had dominated the race and was set for the 2021 title, but lost out to Red Bull's Max Verstappen through a late Safety Car restart.
The handling of that restart, called by FIA Race Director Michael Masi, is currently subject to a full FIA investigation – the report into that investigation will be revealed on 18 March.
Hamilton's message is an old pre-record
Hamilton's message was not posted on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, although both Russell's and Wolff's similar messages to the camera were shared on the social channels of the team's Malaysian sponsor Petronas.
Mercedes have since confirmed to RacingNews365.com that the video message is old, with Hamilton recording his piece pre-Abu Dhabi – some two months ago.
Hamilton's hairstyle is similar to that of another Happy New Year video message that went out at the end of December, suggesting it was recorded at around the same time.
Mercedes' new 2022 car, the W13, is scheduled for launch on 18 February – it's not yet clear if Hamilton will be in attendance at the launch, or whether speculation regarding his future might come to an end any time soon.
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