Hamilton lost the 2021 F1 world championship in dramatic circumstances as he was overtaken by his main rival on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

It only happened because race director Michael Masi failed to follow the FIA’s rules with cars being allowed to unlap themselves under the Safety Car.

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Verstappen was ultimately given a free run to overtake Hamilton on fresh tyres to take his maiden crown.

The fallout was widespread, with the future of Hamilton in F1 unclear heading into 2022.

Reflecting on what happened just under 18 months, Hamilton described it as a “scar” that is still there.

“Ultimately that feeling never really truly leaves you," Hamilton told ESPN

“It's like when you think about your first love, it will always be that first love and first heartbreak.

“Abu Dhabi, the scar is there and there will always be that memory. Even though I reprogrammed my mind, I think it still took me the whole year to really push through it because we were straight back into work.

“It wasn't a quick thing.”

Hamilton’s teammate at the time - Valtteri Bottas - has also recalled the reaction inside Mercedes following the events of Abu Dhabi.

“I had a headache the next day, that's what I remember," Bottas explained. “The aftermath was painful. The whole team was really suffering. Lewis was down, Toto was down. When you lose the drivers' title like that on the last lap, it was unreal.

“Just big, big disappointment for everybody and it took a while to recover for everyone in the team. It wasn't my greatest memory. It was probably the best time to leave! It was a bit strange, the last time I went to the factory.

“They paid this huge respect and I was so thankful for everything they did at the end. When I left, there was fireworks and all the people lined up in the factory. It was actually quite emotional and to walk away in that situation and grief in the team was not the ideal.”