Hamilton plays down F1 exit talk after "stepping back" over winter

Lewis Hamilton has played down talk that he ever planned to walk away from Formula 1 – but said it was important he stepped back from things over the winter.

Hamilton plays down F1 exit talk after "stepping back" over winter

The world champion disappeared from the public spotlight after losing the championship last year following the FIA’s controversial handling of a late race safety car restart at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton made no public comments about what happened in Abu Dhabi, as his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff made clear he was ‘disillusioned’ with everything that had happened.

That prompted concerns that Hamilton could elect to walk away from F1 after feeling that the sport had lost credibility because of what happened.

But appearing for the first time at the launch of the new Mercedes W13 at Silverstone on Friday, Hamilton explained that, while he needed to get away from everything for a while, he quickly concluded that he would come back in a fighting mood.

“I never, ever said that I was going to stop,” said Hamilton. “I love doing what I do, and it is such a privilege working with this large group of people.

“You really feel like you’re part of a team and part of a family, working towards that common goal. There’s no feeling quite like it.

“But yeah...it was obviously a difficult time for me, and it was a time where I really needed to take a step back and focus on being present. I had my family all around me, and creating great moments.

“And I eventually got to a point where I decided I was going to be attacking coming into another season, and working with Toto and George [Russell].

“It’s exciting seeing George come in and bringing his energy. I can already feel that throughout the team. I think it’s going to be an exciting season.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, leaves his pit box

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, leaves his pit box

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

The Mercedes launch comes one day after the FIA announced its response to the Abu Dhabi controversy.

As well as moving F1 race director Michael Masi aside, it is to set up a virtual race control room and tweak the safety car rules to prevent repeat problems in the future.

Read Also:

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who vowed to hold the FIA ‘accountable’ for its failings in Abu Dhabi, said he welcomed the governing body’s response.

“I think it’s very encouraging to see that action has been taken,” said Wolff at the launch of the team’s W13.

“There is a much more robust structure now and support structure for the racing director. The FIA has stated that there will be a virtual race control room, state of the art technology, and now we shall be going, the new guys are going to be in place for the Barcelona test. I think the right steps.”

shares
comments

Related video

Live: Mercedes F1 W13 car launch day updates
Previous article

Live: Mercedes F1 W13 car launch day updates

Next article

Mercedes unveils new W13 F1 car ahead of Silverstone shakedown

Mercedes unveils new W13 F1 car ahead of Silverstone shakedown
Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

A testing return to the Singapore Grand Prix in tricky conditions created plenty of hazards and mistakes for the Formula 1 drivers to fall into. That partly explains a number of low scores, including from a handful of high profile runners, allowing others to take a starring role under the floodlights

The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP Plus

The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP

In a marathon Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, Sergio Perez’s victory was only assured hours after the race due to a stewards investigation. Throughout the contest the Red Bull driver impressively held off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in changing conditions to see the Mexican pull out enough of an advantage to negate his post-race penalty

The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams Plus

The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams

What happens, asks MATT KEW, if the old adage of win on a Sunday, sell on a Monday is no longer true for F1 manufacturers?

Formula 1
Oct 2, 2022
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Plus

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Plus

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains BEN EDWARDS, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Plus

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022