Lewis Hamilton has admitted he considered retiring immediately after the drama surrounding the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton said at the time the result of the race was “manipulated” in Max Verstappen’s favour as the Red Bull driver passed him on the last lap to take the World Championship in highly controversial circumstances.
Then-race director Michael Masi resigned in the wake of the fallout surrounding the race, with Hamilton bereft as he crossed the line as the FIA’s long-standing restart procedures following Safety Cars were seemingly not followed at that moment.
Lewis Hamilton ‘for sure’ considered retiring in wake of Abu Dhabi fallout
Hamilton had been comfortably leading that night at Yas Marina before a late Safety Car was called for the crashed Nicholas Latifi, before only the lapped cars separating him and Verstappen were allowed to overtake the Safety Car.
Rather than the one additional lap before racing got going again, as is FIA protocol, which would have seen the cars cross the finish line in order, the race got going again.
Hamilton was passed on the last lap by Verstappen on fresh tyres, leaving the Red Bull driver as World Champion for the first time in one of the greatest title battles in living memory.
That race remains a highly contentious issue among sections of Formula 1 fans to this day, and a regular topic of conversation on social media, and the Mercedes driver admitted he considered calling time on his illustrious career in the days after the race.
He decided against it however, believing it unwise to make rash decisions “in the heat of that moment”.
“For sure, yeah,” Hamilton told media in Abu Dhabi when asked if he thought about retiring on the spot after the drama of the title race two years ago, as quoted by Autosport.
“There was so much going through my mind during that period in time.
“But I think one of the worst things you can do is make decisions based on emotions, because when you are emotional and in the heat of that moment, more often than not, you’re not going to make the best decisions.
“Emotions were high, it was a really, really difficult period of time, so I had to just wait until things calmed down, and that I was clear in my thought and I was able to then make the right decisions.”
But after spending time with family in the off-season, he came to the realisation that he wanted to carry on in the sport.
“I was around my niece and nephew and was in a beautiful place, in Hawaii, with my family, and at a point where I felt really content and felt I just wanted to get up again and keep going,” Hamilton added.
Having penned terms until the end of 2023, Hamilton now has a new deal with Mercedes that runs until the end of 2025, which he signed earlier this year, which will bring his stay in the sport past his 40th birthday.