LEWIS HAMILTON and Mercedes may find themselves in a stand-off over his disobeying direct team orders at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.
Mercedes bosses Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe have both admitted that Lewis Hamilton could be punished for ignoring the team radio during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
His efforts to back team-mate Nico Rosberg into the chasing pack were in vain though and the German won the world title by five points.
But what are all of Hamilton’s possible options now, if he does feel his team's wrath?
Lewis Hamilton returns to McLaren?
Hamilton is contracted with Mercedes until the end of the 2018 season.
But his former engineer Marc Priestley claimed this week that if Mercedes choose to fine or ban Hamilton for his actions in Abu Dhabi, he could walk away from the team. He even threatened to do so after colliding with Rosberg at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Contracts can be torn up or paid off, and if Hamilton were to leave Mercedes with immediate effect, his first port of call would surely be his former stamping ground: McLaren.
New boss Zak Brown admitted when he took over the Brit's former team that while he is happy with the current driver line-up, a return for Hamilton should not be ruled out later down the line.
But the three-time world champion could be walking away from the fastest car on the racetrack into the unknown.
Lewis Hamilton quits Formula One?
Hamilton is, according to almost everyone who has worked with him, a very emotional and highly strung character.
He is at present a three-time world champion and second on the all-time list of F1 race winners with 53, having overtaken Alain Prost in the 2016 season.
He has achieved almost everything there is to achieve in the sport and if his heart isn’t in it, then there is plenty to say he could pack it all in for a life of partying and celebrity.
Michael Schumacher’s all-time race record is still 38 wins away — if he wants to catch him, he must be committed for more than just another two years, which may be a bridge to far if the Rosberg rivalry has driven him to distraction.
Lewis Hamilton vows to give Nico Rosberg the battle of his life?
If Hamilton stays at Mercedes, he and Rosberg will most likely be battling for the championship again next year.
The Mercedes car will be the fastest in the paddock until at least the end of 2017 and if Hamilton stays he will know no other way than racing with every inch of effort against his team-mate.
But remaining at Mercedes will likely involve him having to swallow his pride over the Abu Dhabi debacle and accept he was in some part in the wrong — and resolve not to pull the same stunt again.
Those famous ‘Rules of Engagement’ will certainly need reexamining…
Lewis Hamilton tells Mercedes it’s him or Nico Rosberg?
Hamilton has been racing Rosberg, and usually beating him, since the pair were just children in go-karts.
They were famously friends but the strains of fighting for F1’s biggest prize week after week have soured the relationship. They could barely make eye contact on the podium in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton could see another year of teamwork as impossible and demand Mercedes make the choice they never said they would and pick a No 1 driver.
Whichever driver ended up losing out would likely leave and be replaced by Pascal Wehrlein. The 22-year-old German raced for Manor this season and managed one solitary Championship point at the Austrian Grand Prix.
It is a decision Wolff hopes he will never have to make.