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Formula 1: Hamilton reveals he had to fight through huge mental barrier after 2021 finale

Lewis Hamilton admits it took a lot of mental strength to return to Formula 1 following the conclusion of the 2021 season.

The Mercedes driver won his first race in two-and-a-half years on Sunday, recording his ninth overall victory at the British Grand Prix.

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It was a tough test for all 20 stars on the grid, with intermittent rain making conditions tricky on track.

But Hamilton, a seasoned veteran of the sport, used his knowledge and cool head to bring home the victory, making it two in a row for his team after George Russell’s triumph a week ago in Austria.

The 39-year-old was understandably emotional after the race, as memories of his last victory in Saudi Arabia over two years ago will have flooded back.

He was so close to the top step in the finale at Abu Dhabi, but was pipped by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to deny him an eighth world-title.

Since then, Mercedes had gone backwards, struggling to build a car capable of competing with their fierce rivals.

But they finally look to have cracked the code and will continue their development into the second half of the season.

Hamilton will move to Ferrari in 2025, but is clearly very attached to Mercedes and was ultimately grateful for the win.

He said: “I often wonder about the weight of the tear and what it carries. I think with 2021, and these past few years, with how challenging it’s been… I think there’s happiness and there’s sorrow within those tears [post-race] and then ultimately just gratitude.

“Really really grateful, and also proud of myself.

“There’s been so many moments where I didn’t think that I was good enough or I was able to do what I did today ever again.

“And that’s a really tough thing to accept. But, today is a showing that I don’t have to accept that.”

Asked if the win was part of his healing process from 2021, the Brit added: “I think only time will tell. What I can say is that I’m not giving up.

“I feel like I’m making the right decisions with my life, with how I prepare and how I manage my time, the decision I’ve taken, for next year, the commitment I still have to this team and the love that I still have for this team and the love that I still have for my job.

“I really, really love this job. Honestly, when I came back in 2022, I thought that I was over it. And I know I wasn’t and it’s taken a long time for sure to heal that kind of feeling.

“And that’s only natural for anyone that has that experience. And I’ve just been continuing to try and work on myself and find that inner peace day by day.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says just because his team have a fast car now, it does not mean they will stop developing.

They head to Hungary in two weeks, another favourite track of Hamilton’s, where he has won eight times.

Wolff said: “There’s more to come in terms of performance. We’re bringing updates to Budapest and Spa.

“We mustn’t get carried away, we had a win last week benefiting from [Verstappen and Lando Norris] tangling, but today we have an honest win.

“We had the real pace, you could see George and Lewis in the lead… almost under all conditions we were there.”

The Hungarian Grand Prix – the 13th of 24 races this season – will take place on July 21 at 3pm BST.

Mitch Fretton
Mitch Fretton
Mitch is a freelance sports journalist with experience working for LiveScore, GOAL and Colchester United. He has experience working from both his desk at home and in the press box at games covering the Champions League and international football.
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