Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is using the 2021 season title disappointment and this year’s struggles as motivation to keep racing in Formula 1.
The seven-time World Champion saw his bid for a record-breaking eighth end in controversial circumstances when the incorrect handling of the Safety Car period in Abu Dhabi helped Max Verstappen snatch the title on the last lap of the season.
Although Hamilton entered 2022 keen to right that wrong, things haven’t gone to plan for him or Mercedes. The Briton and his team have yet to win a race so far, and with just six races remaining in the season, time is running out.
Despite the disappointments encountered over the past two seasons, Hamilton‘s push to get back to the top is motivating him to remain in F1 at the age of 37.
“Definitely because it’s going to take longer than one year,” Hamilton told Racer. “I think if we had just won last year and then we would win this year, definitely life would be in a different place and you’d be on a different course.
“I love that it’s gone through a phase even harder and we’ve got to pull through that thick slog and get to the point where we are a little bit lighter and we’re floating a little bit more. So yeah, I would say that it’s encouraged me to stay longer.
“Plus I’m feeling fit, I’m finding ways of feeling better physically. The mental challenge is a consistent thing and that will always be the case because that’s how it is for us athletes, because we’re on the edge.
“But right now, where I am in life, I’m really grateful for the opportunity I have here. I like to think I still deserve a place here, and there is lots of work to do.”
Hamilton adjusting his mindset
Hamilton has won a race in every F1 season since making his debut back in 2007, a statistic which underlies how successful he’s been in the sport.
Given he holds the record for most wins, pole positions and podium finishes, among others, in F1, Hamilton admits he’s had to change his mindset given his recent lack of success.
“It’s really just about taking time to sit back, reflect, figure out what you can do better,” said Hamilton. “As athletes, we are super-determined, we don’t like to lose, we don’t like to fail.
“Failure is not an option, but sometimes you do, and that’s part of the process. It’s how you then don’t beat yourself up or beat yourself down, it’s how you take it on, put it on your back and use it as experience to power forward.
“And it’s not easy. It could take you one day, it could take you five minutes, it could take you multiple days.”