Lewis Hamilton is coming off a crushing defeat for a file eighth Formulation One championship and on the verge of the primary winless season of his 16-year profession.
His Mercedes has been a beast to drive all season and a flaw in its design created a bouncing impact that causes his tooth to chatter and his again to ache. New teammate George Russell outranks him within the season standings — Russell is fourth, Hamilton is sixth — and a 24-race schedule is looming for subsequent season, when Hamilton can be 38 years previous.
Many thought he’d stop the game when he misplaced final yr’s F1 championship to Max Verstappen in a controversial sequence of calls within the December season finale at Abu Dhabi, however he returned for what is going to go down as arguably one of the troublesome seasons for the driving force who holds the F1 file with 103 profession victories.
You are reading: Lewis Hamilton committed to helping Mercedes end slump
Forward of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in Brazil, the place earlier this week Hamilton was awarded honorary citizenship, The Related Press requested Hamilton why he needs to proceed to race into his 40s and why he didn’t stop F1 following the injustice he believes he was dealt final yr in Abu Dhabi.
He used an analogy of a uncommon day without work he had final week to clarify how he’s wired. He’d traveled to Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, the place Hamilton spent eight hours within the wave pool.
“I used to be within the pool the entire time, and I fall and I stumble off of a wave and I get again up and attempt to do it once more. And I proceed to try this, and that’s simply one thing in my DNA,“ Hamilton advised the AP. ”I like this sport. I like racing. I’d have undoubtedly mentioned on the finish of final yr that I misplaced a little bit of the love for it, as a result of as you understand, it was troublesome.
“However I simply refuse to let that second be a deciding consider my life and my profession. And I nonetheless really feel match and targeted and there’s no stopping. You recognize? We need to get quantity eight.”
It gained’t be this season as Verstappen clinched a second consecutive F1 title final month, and regardless of the progress Mercedes has made in enhancing its automotive this yr, the group nonetheless can’t problem Crimson Bull on velocity for wins. Verstappen, in the meantime, has gained a file 14 instances this season and heads to Interlagos hoping to increase Crimson Bull’s profitable streak to 9 consecutive races.
Hamilton, nonetheless, is coming off consecutive consecutive runner-up finishes to Verstappen which have buoyed Mercedes.
“Although we’ve had probably the most troublesome yr this yr, I really feel that we’ve got climbed mountains collectively as a group,” Hamilton advised AP. “It’s been one of the lovely experiences to see everybody working so arduous. And you understand, we simply had two seconds in a row and that looks like wins for us.”
Hamilton final November gained in Brazil to start out a three-race profitable streak that despatched him into the Abu Dhabi finale tied with Verstappen for the championship. Hamilton dominated all the race till a late warning scrambled the end and the since-fired race director broke from protocol in his rulings.
It allowed Verstappen to go Hamilton for the win and the championship, and Hamilton vanished from public view instantly after the race. He advised the AP that two month interval after Abu Dhabi was the toughest he is ever needed to work on his psychological well being.
“It was one of many hardest instances of my profession, for certain I struggled,” Hamilton advised the AP, explaining how he surrounded himself with quick household, put down his cellphone, and prevented social media and all information. He additionally went to the seashore along with his niece and nephew and allow them to bury him within the sand.
“So I stand up every single day and concentrate on being current and taking advantage of the time that I had and creating recollections. It was to maintain myself in a contented place and never concentrate on racing.“
Hamilton has not gained since that three-race streak forward of Abu Dhabi, which wasn’t actually what he anticipated when he re-emerged on the finish of January to start preparations for 2022. Mercedes wasn’t conscious it had taken a fallacious flip within the growth of its automotive and would wish all the season to undo the harm.
“You simply pivot. As an alternative of how will we get on prime of this automotive and battle for the championship, it was ‘OK, we’re most probably not going to be combating for the championship, so how do I steer this ship that’s going within the fallacious route? How do I maintain this group motivated?’” defined Hamilton. “We’ve got dug deeper and develop into a stronger, extra full group. So I do know that once we construct the automotive that I dream of, subsequent yr, I do know as a group we’re extra strong and have a greater basis than ever earlier than.”
That Hamilton isn’t planning to retire anytime quickly is just not a shock to Russell, who has discovered his fellow Englishman to be the consummate skilled and teammate. Russell mentioned Hamilton is devoted to turning Mercedes round.
“He’s undoubtedly not lifted his foot off the throttle pedal, and he’s undoubtedly the previous few races performing in all probability higher than ever,” Russell mentioned. “For me to have the chance to be his teammate, to go instantly head-to-head with him and develop on this journey that we’re on collectively, as a result of it actually does really feel like a journey that the 2 of us are on, together with the remainder of the group, in making an attempt to convey Mercedes again to profitable methods.
“I believe we’ve received a extremely, actually nice relationship, clear relationship and yeah, be nice to be teammates for quite a few years to come back.”