Lewis Hamilton says he spent much of the 2019 Formula 1 season “battling certain demons” and a “darker side” in a rare glimpse into his mindset.

Hamilton wrapped up his sixth world title to become the second most successful F1 driver of all time at the United States Grand Prix, moving him to within one championship of equalling Michael Schumacher’s record.

Speaking after his second-place finish in Austin, Hamilton opened up about his state of mind throughout the year, revealing that the deaths of Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda and Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert hit him hard.

“Every year you go through a different rollercoaster ride of emotions to get to where you’re going,” Hamilton explained.

“Each and every single one of us is struggling with something in life. Whatever it may be: small, big. I tried to show people that, from the outside, things always look great but it’s not always the case.

“I am also struggling with lots of different things and battling certain demons and trying to make sure that I’m constantly growing as a person.”

Asked to elaborate on his comments, Hamilton said: “There’s always the darker side that’s always trying to pull you down and you’re constantly having to wake up.

“I look in the mirror and I’m trying to lift myself up and say ‘yes, you can do it. Yes, you are great. Yes you can be fit if you go and put that time in. Yes, you can win this race if you do the right steps and you continue to believe in yourself, and no one else is going to do it for you.’

“So it’s just encouraging yourself always and I’m just trying to show a side that I didn’t understand that we’re all similar in many ways.

“I would say this year that losing Niki, I didn’t think that was going to hit me as hard as it did,” he added.

“It really was upsetting and I miss him dearly and I didn’t realise how much I loved the guy, from the moment that he was calling me, when I was back home, asking me to come to the team, to when we sat together in the hotel in Singapore, the weekend my gearbox broke at McLaren, to him always taking his hat off so our negotiations to all sorts.

“That was a tough pivot point for us in the end and also we lost a young kid [Hubert] in Spa. Again, I saw it on the TV, I saw it happen.

“That again, when something like that happens, can put lots of doubts in your mind and batting that off and thinking OK, jeez, is it time to stop or shall I keep going, because there’s lots of life afterwards.

“I still want to spend time with my family, I still want to have a family one day, all these different things.

“But I’m so charged to do, and I love doing what I do so much that I don’t think there’s a lot that can particularly stop me in that sense.”

 

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