Lewis Hamilton has admitted to moments of self-doubt following the 38-year-old Mercedes driver’s second successive Formula 1 season without a win.
Speaking to the BBC and others in an interview published on Wednesday, the seven-time world champion and the most successful driver in the sport’s history with a record 103 wins said it was normal to ask such questions.
“When you have tough times like this, there’s always going to be moments where you’re like, ‘Is it me or is it the car? Do you still have it? Is he gone?” said the Briton. who finished the season third overall.
“Because you miss that, you know… when the magic happens, when everything comes together, the car and you, and that spark, it’s amazing. And that’s what you’re looking for. I’m only human,” he added.
“If anyone in the world tells you they don’t have these things, they’re in denial. We’re all human.”
Hamilton last won a race in Saudi Arabia in December 2021, when he was battling Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for the title, with the Dutch driver eventually prevailing in controversial circumstances in Abu Dhabi.
Verstappen and his team won both titles last year and have enjoyed their most dominant season ever this season, with Red Bull winning 21 of 22 races and the now three-time champion a record 19 of them.
Hamilton said he knew it was going to be another tough year before it even started when he tested the car and it didn’t feel any different. The Brit was already complaining in the opening race in Bahrain that Mercedes were on the wrong track and hadn’t heard him. The team, which finished the year second overall, has since changed the concept for 2024 with team boss Toto Wolff saying in Abu Dhabi last weekend that almost every element was changing.
“I think we have a North Star now, which I don’t think we’ve had in two years. But getting there is not a straight line,” Hamilton said. “I think we understand the car a lot better. They’ve developed great tools behind the scenes. So, of course, I’m optimistic. But I’m not going to hold my breath.”
Hamilton signed a new contract in August that will run until the end of 2025, meaning he will be 40 if he sees it.
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