Lewis Hamilton on why he considered quitting F1 after Abu Dhabi

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton says “if you can lose a championship through wrongdoing within an organisation – that was the thing that I wondered whether” to continue in Formula 1.

At the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was denied his eighth world championship, after race director Michael Masi disregarded the rules which govern the use of the Safety Car.

After this controversial race, Lewis embarked on a period of media silence, with rumours flying around that he might not return in 2023.

He ultimately did emerge again in February, and he returned to the track soon thereafter. In a talk with BBC Lewis explained what he was going through in the aftermath of Abu Dhabi.

“Was I ever truly not going to come back? I am not one to give up like that, really,” the Briton said.

“What really was breaking was to just believe that the sport would do something like that, that that would happen, given that there are so many people you rely on. You expect that the job would be done right.

“And [that] an outcome of a world championship which so many people have worked so hard for, would come out through a wrong decision from somebody… You know?

“That was probably the only thing. It wasn’t for my lack of love for working with my team or racing cars; it was literally that.

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“If you can lose a championship through wrongdoing within an organisation – that was the thing that I wondered whether…

“But I spent time with my family and that was really the best part of the healing, really. I just gave all of my time to the kids [his nephews and nieces], building snowmen and just being present with them.

“That enabled me to really recover, really bounce back. If I wasn’t with them, I would have been stuck in a hole.”

Once Lewis decided to come back, it wasn’t an easy task to resume his normal preparations.

“I would say getting back into training was not easy. It’s not like you can just say, ‘OK, right, motivation’s there’. It definitely took a minute for me to build back in.”

However, ultimately he settled on a plan to “come back stronger”.

“That’s why I came back with fighting mentality,” Hamilton concluded.

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