Hamilton admits to F1 retirement thoughts after Abu Dhabi 2021 controversy

Lewis Hamilton has openly admitted to having thoughts about retiring from F1 in the aftermath of his controversial title loss to Max Verstappen at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG

Hamilton had dominated that year’s winner-takes-all finale and was on course to win both the race and a record eighth title before former race director Michael Masi’s incorrect application of the Safety Car rules opened the door for Verstappen. 

Following the contentious final-lap restart, Verstappen - who, with nothing to lose had pitted for fresh tyres - overtook the Mercedes driver to snatch both the race victory and his maiden world title in the process. 

A visibly shell-shocked Hamilton graciously kept his composure in the immediate aftermath of the race before disappearing from the public spotlight and entering a social media blackout over the winter.

And the seven-time world champion has now admitted he thought about quitting F1 altogether. 

"For sure, yeah," Hamilton was quoted by Autosport when when asked if retirement had entered his thoughts. 

"There was so much going through my mind during that period in time. But I think one of the worst things you can do is make decisions based on emotions, because when you are emotional and in the heat of that moment, more often than not, you're not going to make the best decisions. 

"Emotions were high, it was a really, really difficult period of time, so I had to just wait until things calmed down, and that I was clear in my thought and I was able to then make the right decisions." 

(L to R): second placed Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the podium with race winner and World Champion Max
(L to R): second placed Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the podium…

Hamilton revealed that time away with his family helped inspire him to return to F1.

"I was around my niece and nephew and was in a beautiful place, in Hawaii, with my family, and at a point where I felt really content and felt I just wanted to get up again and keep going,” he explained. 

The 38-year-old Briton has remained winless since, with his last victory coming at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. 

"I think that's a misconception,” Hamilton said of the significance of his two-year winless drought. “When I was younger, I had bad years when I was a kid.

"In 2009, the car was horrendous. We did have a win through the year because we had a second upgrade in the season.  

"Then 2010-11, also not great years. One on my side from a personal [point of view] the other more often than not the car was not spectacular.  

"So, it's maybe the biggest drought in terms of success, but if you take away those wins, it's been similar to those seasons.” 

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