Hamilton stripping Verstappen of his title would mean nothing: The damage was done; I refuse to live in the past
Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton gave a big interview to selected media during last week’s US Grand Prix, in which he reflected on the still current 2021 season and his plans for the future.
Last year’s controversial finish managed to take on a new chapter at the end of this season thanks to the speed with which the FIA completed checks on the teams’ financial reports – Red Bull was found guilty of a minor financial breach, potentially putting Verstappen’s title in doubt. The decision on that case has been made and will be announced to the public in the afternoon, and it is expected that Red Bull will receive a financial penalty and certain restrictions on aerodynamic testing for 2023.
“Definitely knowing about this with the budget constraint before Singapore brought up some emotions because you kind of bury it and move on and then it comes up again,” Hamilton said.
“No, because the damage is done,” he answered when asked if taking away Verstappen’s title would bring him some kind of satisfaction.
“I have my own feeling about what we achieved as a team, how we achieved it and what we really achieved, and I can keep that to myself. We did our best and did it the right way, which I’m proud of.”
He concluded that there is no point in living in the past:
“I got over it. I refuse to live in the past. I already experienced that in 2007 and it kept me up at night as a young man, and it was only negative.”
“When you dwell on something negative, on hatred or whatever, it only holds you back. I get up and move forward, regardless of what happened in the past. I decided not to think about it. I can’t do anything in the past. I did my best and made sacrifices.”
“But I’m ready to do it again and that’s what I’m aiming for.”
He admitted that the outcome of the Abu Dhabi GP affected him quite a bit, but that leaving the sport was never an option because he does not give up so easily. His love for racing was never in doubt, but he thought a lot about the organization of the sport, and the time spent with his family helped him recover from everything.
“That was the only problem [of the decision to organize the race]. It wasn’t a lack of love for working with my team or racing, it was literally that – how can you lose a championship through a mistake within the organization, that’s what I was thinking about.”
Hamilton will turn 38 at the beginning of 2023, but for now he has no intention of leaving F1 or Mercedes, with whom he has a contract until the end of next season.
“I’m proud of Seb [Vettel] for his career and his decision [to retire], but I don’t make my decisions based on others. He has children, but it’s different with me. I don’t have a family yet.”
“I’m still 100% committed, and I guess with a family it’s hard to be 100% committed because you sacrifice so much that means a lot to you. We are on different paths, we do different things.”
“Can I imagine myself here after forty? Maybe. But we will sign another contract. I would say that we will sit down and negotiate about him in the next couple of months. My goal is to stay with Mercedes. I’ve been with them since I was 13 years old. Mercedes-Benz is my family.”
“I want to continue racing. I love what I do. I’ve been doing it for 30 years and I don’t feel like I should stop. I think I still deserve to stay. I still want to be better. You’re stuck with me for quite some time,” concluded the Briton.