I thought it was never going to happen again - Hamilton

By Daily Sports Nigeria on July 8, 2024

Lewis Hamilton has had to wait for it, but he finally had his moment of redemption at the British Grand Prix and returned to the top step of a Formula 1 podium - two years, seven months and two days since he last stood there.

In doing so, he broke the record for wins at a single track, and did it in front of his home crowd and his family.

“I can’t stop crying,” he said straight after climbing out of his car. Later, he said: “That might be the most emotional ending to a race I think I have probably ever had.”

To understand those tears, you have to consider what Hamilton has been through in that period.

His last victory was at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as his fierce title fight with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen came to a dramatic climax.

A week later, in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton lost the chance to win a record eighth championship after the then race director, Michael Masi, made up the rules as he went along in a late safety-car period.

Over the winter that followed, Hamilton thought about walking away from the sport. Instead, he came back determined to right what he perceived as a wrong, a title that he felt was robbed from him. Only to find that his Mercedes team - after eight consecutive world constructors’ titles - had lost their way following the introduction of new rules.

In the 945 days between his last win and this one, Hamilton said on Sunday, he had doubted himself; doubted, too, whether another victory would ever come.

“The adversity we have gone through as a team and I have personally experienced,” he said, "the constant challenge, like we all have, to get out of bed every day and give it your best shot.

“So many times when you feel like your best shot is not good enough, and the disappointment sometimes you can feel.

“We live in a time when mental health is such a serious issue and I am not going to lie (and deny) that I have experienced that.

“There have definitely been moments between 2021 and here when I didn’t feel like I was good enough, or I thought it was never going to happen again. I have never cried coming from a win. It just came out of me. It is a really great feeling and I am really grateful for it.”

Over the past two years, with a few exceptions, he has generally avoided talking about Abu Dhabi and its impact on him. But this time he let it out.

“Honestly, when I came back in 2022, I thought that I was over it,” Hamilton said. “And I know I wasn’t, and it's taken a long time to heal that kind of feeling. That's only natural for anyone that has that experience. I've just been continuing to try and work on myself and find that inner peace day by day.”

The emotions at Silverstone were so intense because so many aspects of his life journey had come together at once. Not just the end of a long, long win drought. But his home grand prix, in front of a crowd that adores him and cheered his every move, even when he was fighting with another Briton, Lando Norris. On a track that he said he considered the “best in the world”.

On top of that, he is in his last season with Mercedes, who have backed him since he was 13, before he moves to Ferrari next season; his desire to end his career with them on a high.

And an appreciation of time passing, and of valuable personal moments spent with the people he loves most in the world - his father, mother, brother, sister and her children were all at Silverstone with him.

“Your parents are getting older, you know. We're travelling so much,” Hamilton said. “Time with family is a constant challenge. My niece and nephew are growing up and growing out of their cuteness. But I've had them here this weekend.

“We all try to be there for each other, even at a distance. I know I've always had their support, but to be able to see them there and share this experience, they wanted to be at my last race, the last British Grand Prix with this team that have been so incredible to us.

“Mercedes obviously supported me since I was 13. So it's definitely meant the most today to have them there and to be able to share it with them.”

Source BBC Sports

Posted July 8, 2024


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