F1

Hamilton’s bitter Abu Dhabi F1 career ‘sums up the whole year’

The seven-time world champion endured a difficult campaign as Mercedes struggled to meet 2022 car regulations with its troubled W13.

While teammate George Russell took a win, Hamilton finished the year without one for the first time in his F1 tenure. Hamilton racked up nine podium finishes in total with a best second on five occasions.

Hamilton battled with what he suspected was car damage in the early part of Sunday’s Abu Dhabi GP. Battling Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on the opening lap, Hamilton was thrown over a curb when he went off the track.

On lap 55 of 58, he was forced to retire with an undiagnosed problem while running fourth, which contributed to his posting his worst position in the championship, sixth.

Reflecting after the race, Hamilton says he always believed he could win a race in 2022 despite problems with his car and is “so glad it’s over” now.

“I always believed until the last race that there was a potential possibility,” he said when asked if there came a point this year where he was resigned to not winning a race.

“I think it’s important to hold on to hope and keep working.

“I gave it my all and I think ultimately the last race was like the whole season, it sums up the whole year. So I’m glad it’s done.

“Of course it would have been nice to have a win. One win isn’t enough, right?

“I think this year when we got our first fifth, it felt like a victory.

“When we got our first fourth it felt like a win, when we got our first podium it felt like a win.

“Those seconds really feel like we’ve accomplished something, so I’m going to hold on to them.”

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG, on the grid

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar/Motorsport Images

Despite ending 2022 without a win, Hamilton still feels his most difficult season in F1 came in 2011. With McLaren he finished fifth in the standings, though he still won three races.

“No, I think 2011 was probably the most difficult year I’ve ever had,” he added.

“Just in terms of life, this year is probably not the best.

“It’s in the top three of the worst seasons, but I think it’s been a much stronger year in terms of me, in terms of how I worked with the team, how we all stuck together.

“So, there’s been a lot of upside this year.”

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