LONDON, UK (UOL/FOLHAPRESS) – Imagine being able to do things like do the last lap of a race with a flat tire and still win. Obtaining a number of podiums equivalent to all the Grand Prix held since June 2014. Obtaining more titles than the other champions in the current grid combined. Not being in harmony with your car for two years in a row.
Naturally, Lewis Hamilton wondered several times whether he was the problem. In the last two seasons, as Mercedes has struggled to understand its car since the rule change, the seven-time champion has had many ups and downs. Several times, during the same weekend.
He complained about not being heard by the engineers, he celebrated the performances that gave him fifth place, he said he was counting down the days until the car was retired, his ratings were unacceptable, he said he was hungrier than ever. roller coaster.
“At the end of the day, when you have tough seasons like this, there will always be moments where you think: ‘Is it me or is it the car?’ “Because you miss the magic happening, when everything comes together, you and the car, and that spark, it’s something special. That’s what you’re looking for.”
The pilot, who turns 39 in January, told the BBC: “I am a human being.” “If anyone in the world says they don’t think about these things, they are in denial. We are all human.”
Hamilton explains that he learned and even rediscovered some things during those two years in which he did not win a single race (something that did not happen in his first 15 seasons in Formula 1). He’s learned that the path back to owning a winning car isn’t linear. He rediscovered the feeling that makes him love driving so much.
So much so that the driver who, when he was collecting victories and titles, said he would not stay in the category much longer, now has a contract to race until he is close to 41 years old. Do not rule out renewal.
“What you need to learn is never to say never. At the time, I definitely didn’t think I would last. I’ve been away from everyone for so long. I’ve been doing this for 16 years. It’s exhausting. There’s a lot of brilliance and a lot of positives, But that’s nothing, it’s easy to be at your best, always committed, keep training, keep performing.”
“I’ve reached a point where I have no way of winning.”
This process of rediscovery also included understanding what victory meant to him at this stage of his career. A record holder in many aspects of Formula 1, he does not believe that the results in themselves will change anything.
“I’m at a point in my life where there’s no way I can win. If I win a race, it’s like, ‘Oh, he’s a seven-time champion, he’s got 103 wins.’ If I don’t do well, yeah [crítica]…I can’t help but lose at this point in my life. So, there was definitely a time when I was wondering if I wanted to go into this.”
Hamilton then began to focus on the feeling he gets while driving. “I still love getting into the car. When they start the car and there’s all these people around you, and the team, and you come down the pit lane, I still get that smile on my face the same way I had it on the first day. He drove.”
He appreciates that the season was positive on Sundays – he finished third in the World Championship, behind the Red Bull drivers – but feels he was in debt on Saturdays – when he tied in terms of results with teammate George Russell, who admitted that he had a very difficult year. .
“Most of my performances in the races were very good, so I’m happy with that. Getting back to the level I should be at. Qualifying is still an area that needs improvement. We had difficulties getting performance from these tires and so sometimes George was very bad and I was on “It was fine, then it was reversed.”
This inconsistency has characterized Mercedes’ year, but they believe they have found a way for the car, which has not yet been able to be put into practice due to restrictions that come from the spending cap in Formula 1 and also from parts compatible during the season.
“I think we have a direction now, which is something I don’t think we had a couple of years ago,” Hamilton says. “But even getting there is not a straight line.”
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