Lewis Hamilton lost last year’s Formula 1 title on the final lap of the final race of season, a result still argued over and one which resulted in Michael Masi, Formula 1’s race director, losing his job. Lewis Hamilton subsequently took the next two months off, which was understandable, with some fans and media questioning whether he would return at all. For the first time Friday, talked to the media about Abu Dhabi and the upcoming season.
This was also confirmation, if any was needed, that Hamilton will be driving for Mercedes this year alongside new teammate George Russell. What happened in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton said, has only made him more focused, which won’t surprise anyone who’s followed Hamilton’s career up to now.
From The Guardian:
“I always see that through these experiences you can turn that emotion into strength and power and that is what I am doing,” Hamilton said. “If you think what you saw at the end of last year was my best, wait until you see this year.
“Ultimately this is the sport I have loved my whole life [but] there was a moment where I had lost a little bit of faith with the system. But I am generally a very determined person. I thought whilst moments like this might define others’ careers, I refuse to let this define mine. So I focused on being the best I could be and coming back stronger.”
“Whilst we can’t change the past – nothing will ever be able to change the way and I how I felt at the time, and how I feel about the situation – it’s good to see the FIA is taking steps to make improvements,” he said. “Accountability is key, we have to use this moment to make sure this never happens to anyone else in the sport ever again.”
Hamilton also said there is no lingering beef with Max Verstappen, so effective has the blame been put on Masi.
“This has nothing to do with Max,” Hamilton said. “Max did everything a driver would do given the opportunity he was given. He is a great competitor and we will go into another battle like we did last year and conduct ourselves and grow from our races and experiences last year.
“I have no issues with him, I don’t hold any grudges with anybody. I don’t think that is a good thing to carry round with you, I don’t have anything over my shoulder holding me back. I am not letting that experience be one of those.”
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These are mature quotes from an F1 driver who has seen everything at this point in his career, including, famously, having a hot-shot teammate with his own designs on a title, as Russell is expected to be this year. Now, with Hamilton fully recommitted, Red Bull ready to defend, Ferrari looking very interested, and, hell, maybe even McLaren fucking around and surprising people, this 2022 Formula 1 season is poised for all of the drama again, which is just how the people who produce Drive To Survive like it.
And fans, too — or at least some of them, as I have also seen others arguing that modern Formula 1 is just a series of silly feuds that no one really means. Maybe that is sometimes true, but, on the other hand, I think Lewis Hamilton would disagree.