At the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton lost the championship to Max Verstappen after the race director ignored and broke several rules that govern the use of the safety car.
It was a shocking and controversial ending to an amazing season. However, despite the injustice that he suffered, Lewis immediately congratulated Verstappen and his father, and remained respectful during the podium ceremony.
While speaking to young people in a talk organized by Sky Sports F1, Lewis explained why it was so important to shake Verstappen’s hand.
“My dad put a value inside me about never giving up, and the easiest thing to do is to give up, but it’s not how you fall, it’s about how you get up,” the Briton said.
“In that moment for me, no matter how painful it was – and it was so, so painful – just knowing there would be a kid watching… me shaking his hand just shows there is strength within regardless and I’m going to rise again.”
Lewis then explained he is carrying this same mentality in 2022, despite the difficulties Mercedes is facing.
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“I’ve come back into a season and I’ve been struggling all year, and I don’t know why that is the case this year.
“But no matter what I’m working to try to be a better team-mate. There’s all these other areas I’m strengthening that I didn’t even realise I would have time to do.”
Lewis also explained how he’s learned to deal with what he perceived to be failures.
“My whole life I’ve focused on… winning is everything, work towards winning. And so anything but, at times, has felt like a failure.
“I would say that actually I’ve learnt more from the failures. The success and everything is a beautiful thing but you learn way, way more when you stumble, and fall.
“I used to dwell on things for such a long time, but now I’m able to move on and just apply myself better next time.
“Work harder, dig deeper, study more – whatever it may be,” Hamilton concluded.