Lewis Hamilton has admitted that his Abu Dhabi heartbreak has convinced him to put off retirement from Formula 1 until he could win another world title.
One of the only major F1 records Hamilton does not hold outright is the number of World Championships - currently tied on seven with Michael Schumacher.
His chances of an eighth crown this season are over as Mercedes have struggled to understand their W13 design, and overcome the porpoising issue that affected them in the first races of the campaign.
Hamilton's best result thus far in 2022 are a pair of second places in France and Hungary and is currently on-course for his lowest ever finish in the World Championship in sixth-place.
However, the British driver has revealed that the lure of the challenge to return to winning ways and fighting for titles has convinced him to go on and not retire from Grand Prix racing.
Hamilton on Abu Dhabi heartbreak
Hamilton was set to claim the record-breaking eighth crown, but then-race director Michael Masi's decisions behind a Safety Car in the finale enabled Max Verstappen to snatch the title away after a one-lap shootout.
That, coupled with the difficulty nature of the W13, has extended Hamilton's shelf-life even further.
"I think if we had just won last year, and then we would win this year, life would be in different place and you'd be on a different course," he explained to RACER.com.
"I love that it's gone through a phase even harder and we've got to pull through that thick slog - I would say that it's encouraged me to stay longer.
"I'm feeling fit - and finding ways of feeling better physically.
"The mental challenge is a consistent thing and that will always be the case because that's how it is for us athletes, because we are on the edge.
"I like to think I still deserve a place here, and there is lots of work to do.
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The challenge of returning to winning ways
Now 37, and 38 by the time next season starts, Hamilton is nearer the end of his career than the start, and despite winning 103 Grands Prix, he is still eager to add to that tally and raise the benchmark.
"To be honest, if every day was easy and you’re just getting through it, it wouldn’t be a challenge," he explained.
"I love the challenge of working with everybody and challenging the people and them challenging me. [We] acknowledge this year that we haven’t done a great job, but it doesn’t mean we can’t do a great job in the future. We have done it in the past.
"Does it hurt? I wouldn’t say it hurts. We all know what it could be. We would love to be in that battle fighting, and I wish that all the cars were a lot closer and we were all having a much better battle closer to the front.
"I wish there was only tenths between us all, you know? But that’s not the way our sport is.
“So I don’t worry about that - it’s not something I can control at the moment. So I just focus on what I can and that is trying to do a better job with what we have got and steering it.
"When I damage the car, I take money away from the budget and I’m like, ‘Oh, God! Don’t do that!
"I’m hoping when we come back in February next year, the car touches the ground and it does what we hope it does."
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