Lewis Hamilton reflects on ‘difficult time’ in first comments since Abu Dhabi controversy

The seven-time world champion will return for the 2022 season

<p>Lewis Hamilton said he needed to take a “step back” following the end to last season  </p>

Lewis Hamilton said he needed to take a “step back” following the end to last season

Lewis Hamilton has revealed he went through a “difficult time” after he was controversially beaten to the Formula One title by rival Max Verstappen at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last season.

The seven-time world champion confirmed that he will return for the 2022 campaign as he appeared at the launch of the Mercedes W13 and gave his first public comments since losing out to Verstappen in December.

Hamilton was beaten to the title on the final lap of the season after race director Michael Masi allowed some but not all cars to unlap themselves under a late safety car to set up a dramatic shootout for the championship.

Masi has since been removed from his post by the FIA following a review of how the closing stages of the race were allowed to unfold, a process that was reportedly crucial to Hamilton returning for a 16th season in the sport.

The Briton was silent on social media for several weeks as he came to terms with losing out on what would have been a record-breaking eighth championship, sparking rumours that he was considering retiring from Formula One, but Hamilton confirmed that he needed to “take a step back” and reflect upon the disappointment.

‘’I never said I was going to stop,” Hamilton said on Friday as Mercedes launched their W13 car. “I love doing what I do. It was a difficult time for me, a time I needed to take a step back. I had my family around me and created great moments.

‘’Then I got to a point where I decided to go on the attack again and wanted to work with Toto and George [Russell]. It’s cool to see George come into the team with his energy. I feel that already within the team and look forward to the season.”

Mercedes revealed that they would be returning to a silver livery following two seasons of an all-black design. Hamilton has been joined by Russell for the 2022 as the 24-year-old stepped up from Williams, with Valtteri Bottas moving on to Alfa Romeo.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in