Lewis Hamilton is no longer shy about talking about Abu Dhabi 2021 and the race in which he controversially lost the Formula 1 World Championship title to Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team.
The Brit is harsh on the decisions made by Michael Masi, the race director at the time.
“It seems like years ago. It certainly broke my spirit, or broke my soul, whatever you want to call it,” Hamilton said to the BBC and other outlets.
“How could I not come back? I’m not one to give up like that, really. What really broke me was to see that happen in this sport, when there are so many people you trust. You expect them to do their job well. And at the end of the day a world championship, because so many people have worked so hard, was decided by one wrong decision.”
The seven-time world champion reiterated that he thought about quitting.
“It wasn’t because of my lack of love for my team or for racing, it was literally that…. But I spent time with my family and that helped me get through it,” Hamilton said.
“I spent time with the kids, building snowmen and being present in their day-to-day life. That allowed me to really recover. If I hadn’t been with them, I would have been stuck in a hole.”
“I’m over it. I refuse to live in the past. I lived through it in 2007, when I was young, and it kept me awake at night. It was only negative. When you hold on to negativity, when you hold on to hate or whatever, all you do is hold yourself back. I’m going to move on, regardless of what happened in the past.
“I’ve decided not to think about it anymore. There’s nothing I can do about it. I gave it my all. I gave it all and I sacrificed. But I’m willing to do it again. So that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Lewis admits, though, that what happened with Red Bull in 2021 and the potential penalty for exceeding the spending ceiling is affecting him.
“When you come to Singapore and you hear about the spending cap, you can’t help but remember things from the past. It’s something you bury to move on and then it comes up again, and it’s like another kick. And, yes, it does reopen the wound. So it’s back to burying it and moving on,” he confessed.
Hamilton to stay with Mercedes
“We are going to renew. We are going to sit down and discuss it over the next few months,” Hamilton said.
“My goal is to continue with Mercedes. I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13 years old. And it’s my family. They’ve been with me through thick and thin. They were with me when I was expelled from school. They were with me through everything that happened in 2020. They’ve stuck with me through my mistakes, and the sh**that’s been in the press; they’ve stuck with me through the ups and downs. I really believe in this brand. I really believe in the people inside the organisation.
“I want to be the best possible teammate for them, because I think we can make it even better, more accessible, and stronger than it already is. I think I can be an important part of that.”