In his time at Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton has won six world crowns, but it could have been seven if the end of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix had gone differently. In the last lap of the race, when Max Verstappen and the Briton himself were level on points, the Dutchman overtook the Briton to take the title from him after a controversial action by Michael Masi in allowing the race to resume.
In an interview with the fashion, political and cultural magazine that will be launched in September and of which the pilot will be on the cover, Vanity Fair , the man from Mercedes explained how he experienced those hard times.
“You see things start to happen,” the Englishman recalled of the closing laps. “And my worst fears came to life, I thought, there’s no way they’re going to hit me, there’s no way, that’s not going to happen, no.”
“I don’t know if I can really put into words the feeling I had,” Hamilton revealed. “I remember sitting there in disbelief and realizing I had to unbuckle my seatbelts to get out of there.”
“I have to get out of this thing, I have to find the strength, but I didn’t have it. It was one of the hardest moments I’ve had in a long, long time,” the Mercedes man continued. “I knew what had happened, I knew what decisions had been made and why, and something was not right.”
After getting out of the car, at the Parc Fermé , it was his father, Anthony , who was waiting for him, and the pilot recounted how that emotional meeting was: “He hugged me and I think he told me: ‘I want you to know how proud I am of you.’ Having your father hold you like that is one of the most profound things I’ve ever had.”
“I haven’t grown up having that many times,” said Hamilton, who feels ready to return to the top a single season later despite Mercedes’ poor start to 2022 .
“There’s no way I can catch up to the leaders after coming within 30 seconds of last,” he said. “We’re going to get a win this year, and that’s something I couldn’t have said before the race [in Barcelona], so that’s great.”
On his possible retirement from Formula 1 in a few courses, the seven-time world champion assured that “he lives to the fullest the best he can”, and that the fact that he is “making plans for when he finishes” is not synonymous with being planning a premature departure from the Great Circus.
“I’m still on this mission, I still love driving, it’s still a challenge, so I don’t really feel like I have to give it up any time soon,” said the Briton, who is seeking his eighth world title to break the tie with Michael Schumacher as the only driver in history. with that number of Formula 1 championships.