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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton reveals major off-track battle during winless exile

It is 946 days since Lewis Hamilton last won in F1. He explains he has gone through so much in that period.

Hamilton Silverstone
To news overview © XPBimages

Lewis Hamilton has revealed an off-track battle with mental health en route to finally ending his 946-day winless streak.

After taking the chequered flag for the first time since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, there was an outpouring of emotion not previously witnessed by the seven-time F1 champion during his extraordinarily successful career.

Hamilton sobbed over the radio, again in the arms of father Anthony after he stepped out of his Mercedes, and finally on the podium as the national anthem of 'God Save the King' played at Silverstone.

The relief of ending two and a half years of hurt was palpable, during which time he questioned whether he would win again, and forced him to fight demons not previously experienced.

Asked whether he had lost faith he would savour that feeling of being a winner again, he replied: "Absolutely. It feels different to previous races and particularly races where you're having race after race after race, or seasons, where you're having multiple wins.

"With the adversity I would say we've gone through as a team, I've experienced those challenges, the constant challenge like we all have to get out of bed every day and give it our best shot.

"There are so many times where you feel like your best shot is just not good enough, and the disappointment sometimes that you can feel.

"We live in a time where mental health is such a serious issue, and I'm not going to lie, I have experienced that. There's definitely been moments where [I had] the thought that this was it, that that [winning feeling] was never going to happen again.

"So to have this feeling come across the line, honestly, I've never cried coming from a win. It just came out of me. And it's a really, really great feeling. I'm very, very grateful for it."

Hamilton explains reasons behind emotions

Hamilton had to fight hard for the victory, born specifically from a second stop as rain eased and the track began to dry. The 39-year-old opted for a soft tyre final stint for the closing 15 laps.

In performing the undercut on leader Lando Norris, who pitted a lap later, and also onto softs, it soon became apparent his main rival for the victory would be old adversary Max Verstappen.

Verstappen pitted at the end of the same lap as Hamilton but opted for hards. The Red Bull driver passed McLaren's Norris on lap 48 of 52 and then set his sights on the Mercedes.

Hamilton, though, delivered a stunning performance as he eked the life out of rubber that Norris was unable to match to cross the line to huge acclaim from an adoring public for his 104th career triumph, nine of which have been the British GP to become the first driver to score such a number at the same circuit.

Explaining why the win was so special, Hamilton referenced his 2021 title fight with Verstappen that ended in controversial circumstances in the Dutchman's favour, among other factors, including his move to Ferrari at the end of the year.

"Ultimately, it's been such a long time," said Hamilton. "Someone told me 946 days or something like that since the last win.

"Really challenging, a difficult time, obviously, 2021, and then coming back with a car we've not been able to fight with for the last couple of years. It's been incredibly mentally challenging, for everyone in the team.

"But knowing how hard everyone's continued to work, knowing how I've managed to keep my head in it, and then with everything that's happened this year as well, with so many emotions this year, obviously announcing that I'm leaving.

'At the same time starting with a car we didn't feel we could win with, to then finally be in a place where we win, and not only that but at the British Grand Prix in front of my home crowd.

"Honestly, it's the most incredible honour to be standing on the top of the podium and hearing the national anthem, with the King's name in it, for example. It's the first time I've had that. And then also my family's here."

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