'Hit him so hard' - Claim Hamilton only just recovering from Abu Dhabi made

Sky Sports F1 pundit Martin Brundle believes Lewis Hamilton is only just recovering from his 2021 world championship heartbreak. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes A
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes A

Having dominated the now notorious 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton was on course to win a record-breaking eighth world title before a controversial Safety Car period flipped the race on its head. 

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Michael Masi’s incorrect application of the Safety Car rules directly altered the outcome of the world championship, enabling Max Verstappen to make a last-lap overtake on Hamilton to snatch both the race victory and his maiden world title. 

Since the infamous 2021 title-decider, Hamilton has been unable to challenge for a record eighth drivers’ crown with Mercedes failing to produce a competitive car for the seven-time world champion in 2022 and 2023. 

Hamilton was outperformed by teammate George Russell in the 25-year-old’s first season with Mercedes last year. 

Former F1 driver Brundle reckons Hamilton is only now getting back to his previous level of performance after claiming the 2021 title loss “hit Lewis so hard”. 

“I think Abu Dhabi 2021 hit Lewis so hard that I’m only really seeing him recover now, if I’m honest, in terms of what you see out on track,” Brundle explained on Sky Sports F1. 

“They haven’t got the car yet [to win].

“It’s a strong statement, but I believe it.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1 and his father
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1 and his father

Speaking in an interview with ESPN ahead of this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix, Hamilton admitted the “scar” of Abu Dhabi still haunts him. 

“Ultimately that feeling never really truly leaves you," Hamilton said. 

“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."

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