Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he almost left Formula One after the F1 2021 season finale at Abu Dhabi and the controversial end to the race.
Hamilton was in the lead and on course to achieve his eighth World Championship when Nicholas Latifi crashed in the closing laps of the race. This brought out a safety car.
Once the race restarted, then-race director Michael Masi controversially allowed only the lapped cars between Hamilton and Max Verstappen to pass through, enabling the Red Bull driver who was on fresher tyres to launch an attack and finally win the race and the championship.
Now in an interview with Vanity Fair, as quoted by Metro, the seven-time World Champion said that he considered his future in the sport and contemplated stepping away.
“I, for sure, considered whether I wanted to continue.”
“I knew what had happened. I knew what decisions had been made and why. Yes, I knew something wasn’t right. You see things start to unfold, and my worst fears came alive. I was like, there’s no way they’re going to cheat me out of this.”
“There’s no way. That won’t happen. Surely not. I don’t know if I can really put into words the feeling I had. I remember just sitting there in disbelief.
“And realising I’ve got to undo my belts, I’ve got to get out of there, I’ve got to climb out of this thing, I’ve got to find the strength. I had no strength. And it was one of the toughest moments, I would say, I’ve had in a long, long time,” said Hamilton.
The seven-time World Champion opened up on being consoled by his father after the race.
“He embraced me, and I think he was like, ‘I want you to know how proud I am of you.'”
“Having your father embrace you in that way is one of the most profound things ever. Especially as you’ve grown up not many times having that,” said Hamilton.
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