Lewis Hamilton says he has had mornings during the extended break where he has woken up and thought of quitting F1.
The six-time World Champion is being forced to wait longer than expected in his pursuit of a record-equaling seventh title as he enters the final year of his current Mercedes contract.
And the Briton admitted that during the extended break he has at times questioned his own future in the series.
“Mentally it’s really about ultimately feeling good about yourself,” said Hamilton in a Mercedes video.
It’s about finding a way to make sure you love yourself. You have to really be able to love yourself and be comfortable on your own.
“I’ve been really spending time trying to take time for me, making sure that I appreciate me, acknowledging things that you do well, acknowledging also when you fail and you don’t do it so great. It’s okay. And not being so hard on yourself, all these different things.
“I have days when I wake up and feel groggy, I don’t feel motivated to work out. I feel, ‘Jeez, where are we going? What’s next? Should I continue racing?’
“I think all these different things, and then I’m like ‘Damn it!’, and the next hour, or whatever, it passes, and I’m like ‘Damn! I love what I do! Why would I ever consider not continuing?”
Hamilton wants to make sure an improved version of himself heads back to Formula 1, saying if we aren’t “growing” during these times then we are just wasting the days.
“If we are not improving and growing during these days then what are we doing? You’re obviously just wasting your time sitting on your backside,” he explained.
“Nothing’s going to get handed to any of us. We’ve got to go out there and get whatever it is we want, and you’ve got to want it more than the person you’re fighting against. You’ve just got to get off your arse and do it.
“I’m in pretty decent shape, but I can always be in better shape. I see things and I’m like, ‘Damn, I’ve got a bit of fat here. Shoot, I’ve got to work harder, I’ve got to go for a run’. In actual reality, I don’t really have much fat.
“But there are people out there that have these things going through their minds. You’ve just got to let go, find what it is you love and say I’m going to do it. I’m not going to let anything get in my way.
“It might take a long time. People forget I started racing when I was eight and I didn’t get to Formula 1 until I was 22, so that was a long time for me to get there, but patience is also very, very important.
“I do hope to come back better.”