Lewis Hamilton has revealed whether he came close to quitting F1 after the much-discussed events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver maintained radio silence for several weeks after losing out on the World Championship to Max Verstappen in controversial style at the final race of the 2021 season.
There have since been changes made to the race governance structure - which included Race Director Michael Masi losing his role - and the FIA are set to publish the full report of their investigation into what happened over the weekend of the Bahrain Grand Prix in March.
Amid all of this, Hamilton's silence left many questioning whether the Briton would return to Formula 1 in 2022.
Hamilton "always" evaluates options for the future
Hamilton eventually returned to the public eye via social media, and was then seen at Mercedes' launch event earlier this month before getting back behind the wheel at the recent pre-season test in Barcelona.
The seven-time World Champion admits that he did think about his future during the winter break, but says that this is something he always considers at the end of a season.
"Naturally, I think at the end of any season, probably for those that are around my age, of course you're thinking about the future," Hamilton told media including RacingNews365.com.
"You're thinking about, what are the next steps? What are the right steps for you to take, and what's right for you in terms of overall happiness?
"So I always evaluate all my options."
"Why do I need to leave?"
Despite this, Hamilton says that his love for the job and the team meant that he did not want to walk away, as well as the fact that he continues to feel at his best.
"I did make a commitment to the team earlier on in the season," the 37-year-old explained, referring to the contract he signed in 2021 that will keep him at Mercedes until the end of 2023.
"And ultimately, I love what I do. I love being a part of a team. I love working with - and I've said it so many times - everyone towards a common goal. And I feel at my best, so why do I need to leave?
"Of course, dealing with... There are so many different ways you can refocus and get recentred, and I would say this one was one of the best that I've experienced."
Hamilton and Mercedes had mixed fortunes during the recent pre-season test in Barcelona, with a difficult first couple of stints behind the wheel for the Briton before a more productive final session on the last afternoon of testing.
Following this, Hamilton believes that the team have "some obstacles to overcome".
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