Hamilton on comeback decision: 'Do I want to make the sacrifices to be champion again?'


Lewis Hamilton has said he agonised over coming back to fight for the F1 title again after last season's controversial conclusion

Lewis Hamilton 2022 studio shot

Hamilton has elaborated on the unique difficulty of returning this year


Lewis Hamilton has spoken on the difficulty of coming back to F1 after last year’s controversial ending to the title fight, saying “Do I want to sacrifice the time to be world champion?”

The Mercedes driver went quiet on social media and gave no interviews during the off-season, as speculation mounted as to whether F1’s most successful driver would retire. Hamilton says he evaluates his motivation to carry on at the end of every season, but that the choice was made even more difficult this year.

“Of course, at the end of seasons, the question is whether you’re willing to commit the time and effort that it takes to be a world champion,” he said during Mercedes’ launch of its 2022 car.

Lewis Hamilton George Russell press shot 2022

Hamilton has geared up for another title tilt – this year partnered by George Russell


“I think a lot of people underestimate what it takes. There are so many moving parts. It’s not just turning up and driving the car.

“Do you want to sacrifice the time? Do you believe that you can continue to punch at that weight? That’s a normal kind of mental process for me, but this one was compounded by a significant factor.”

That “significant factor” was of course the way FIA handled the final safety car period of 2021, handing his title rival Max Verstappen a golden chance to take the title from Hamilton, which the Dutchman duly grasped with both hands.

The governing body – and now-removed race director Michael Masi – seeming to both take the title off Hamilton was the crux of his agonising over whether to return.

“It was a difficult time for me,” he said. “I think ultimately [in] a sport I’ve loved my whole life, there was a moment where it kind of…[I] obviously lost a little bit of faith within the system.

“But I’m generally a very determined person. And I like to think to myself, whilst moments like this might define [some] careers, I refuse to let this define mine.”

Related article

Rather than let the incident and fallout cow him, Hamilton says intends to use it to push himself further.

“Obviously [I] took time to digest what had happened, I think still [it’s] difficult to fully understand everything,” he said. “But to come back stronger, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. So I put my focus into getting healthy and enjoying the time off, because it goes quickly.

“With these long seasons, the off-time isn’t as long as you would hope for – if anything it seems to get shorter and shorter. But I think over the years, I’ve learned how to be efficient with with my time, with my recovery and then with training and and the building back up – both your body and your mind. But I feel great, I feel fit.

“I always feel like through these sorts of experiences, you can turn that emotion into strength and into power – and that’s what I’m doing.

“I’m putting that into my training and putting that into the work that I have with the men and women here in this team. If you think that what you saw at the end of the last year was my best, wait till you see this year.”