"It's been challenging in ways that I wasn't expecting"

Lewis reflects on 2022

It's important to gather some strength and reflect on memories, victories, experiences and moments, and the off-season period provides just that time: a breathing space to reflect. Lewis Hamilton took time to talk to the media, reflecting on the rollercoaster season they had as a team, scrutinizing the good and bad moments and also looking ahead to the next year.

The season has come to an end. What would be your comments on the year we've just had?

Mercedes-F1.jpg

Lewis Hamilton: "It's been a very hard year for everyone. For me, it's been challenging in ways that I wasn't expecting, but I am incredibly grateful for that. I have felt more growth this year as a man, in terms of internal strength, than I have in many other years."

Toto Wolff thinks it's one of the most important season, as challenging times teach us valuable lessons. Do you also think so? 

Lewis Hamilton: "If you look back at the team's entire history, it was here a long time before Toto and I joined, and they had some really difficult years. Some of the people have been here for over 20 years and really been through the thick of it. I would say for our current team, in terms of the last 10 years, this has been the toughest year for everyone along with the most strengthening. There has been so much resistance, so much we have been up against, and I am thankful that we have. There are many people working here, along with many new people in the team, and this experience has been good for them too. When we win, there is a different gratitude now because it happened so often before."

What are your thoughts on the team's progress, judging from its position at the start of the season to its position at the end of the season?

Lewis Hamilton: “It's been impressive, for sure. I always knew that we could do it. I never doubted that we would get there in the end, but there was lots of trial and error, and so much failure this year. There were times we brought upgrades, and they didn't work, and times we tried different things, and it didn't work. I tried so many things and failed so many times, but through that you learn and grow. That's what it's been about this year. It's been about failure, breaking down egos, strengthening our relationships, and strengthening our communications. From that perspective, it's been really empowering.”

Do you have any highlights when you can say the team was making tangible progress?

Lewis Hamilton: "The first big step was Barcelona, that was our first hint of there being more potential in the car. It turned out to be a bit of a false positive; the car was good there, but then the races afterward were difficult. It was like a ghost was in the car, and it kept coming back. But then there was France and that felt like a good step with our first double podium of the season. And then there was Austin, too, with the update we had working well."

It hasn't been an easy year, I'm sure we can all agree. What has been your secret to coping with the ups and downs, keeping it together and forging ahead with a positive mindset? 

Lewis Hamilton: “The fans continue to keep me going. This whole year, I was just hopeful we would get there. I kept trying to be the best team-mate I could be to everyone I worked with. We were all in the same boat, stuck together no matter what, but we're all rowing in the same direction, needing to stay aligned. We just kept on working to make it through and get the best out of every opportunity.”

How was it working with George considering it was his first year as a race driver for the team? What would be your overall comments on your working relationship, how it has evolved, and it's impact on the progress of the team?

Lewis Hamilton: “I think it's been smooth and there has been a lot of growth. I have worked with many drivers before, so it was perhaps more normal for me, but for him, it was probably more of an adjustment because he was new to the team, and it was the first time we had worked together properly. He's been great to work with, pushing the car forwards technically and set-up wise. It's been a good first year as team-mates.”

The fans are always showering you with support, through the good and bad times. Is that important to you and the team at large?

Lewis Hamilton: "I think this has been the greatest year in my career in terms of fan support. There has been so much love, and that's so appreciated in a time when the world is going through a really tough period. To see everyone excited about our sport, weekend in, weekend out, is so good. It's the most excited I've seen the fans and the most passionate, so the support feels like it is magnified. I felt like we've been on a journey together more than ever before."

During the season, did you have any on-track highlights?

Lewis-Hamilton-F1.jpg

Lewis Hamilton: “Budapest felt great. Zandvoort was good too, and so was Silverstone with the atmosphere and being able to finish on the podium there. Brazil was a highlight for how happy the team was. I was nervous of losing the one-two and was grateful we crossed the line and secured it. I've not seen the team that happy in a while, so that felt great, given where I got knocked back to at the start.”

We understand you're not only into racing, but have many other interests. Do you have any other achievements you're proud of?

Lewis Hamilton: "The thing I'm most proud of is Mission 44. We have potentially one of the most diverse non-profit organizations operating in the UK and I have been to visit schools, I have seen the impact that it is starting to have, and I am so proud of this. I really feel like I'm living to do my purpose, and I feel like it's starting to have a tangible and positive effect. We are going to start seeing more equality for young kids and more opportunities for children from different backgrounds, so I am excited about that."

Is there anything you're looking forward to in 2023?

Lewis Hamilton: "I'm definitely excited for 2023. These last few years have been so difficult for so many around the world, so many people struggling with the war and many other things. I hope something kicks us all into gear to understand that we need to be more compassionate and caring to each other, and I am praying for that all the time. A new year to be better, a new year to climb, keep fighting and unite even more. And it's another chance to fight for a World Championship."

Comments