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Lewis Hamilton

How Hamilton surprised himself in a 'mentally challenging' year

The 2022 F1 season was statistically Lewis Hamilton's worst so far, but the Mercedes driver admits that he was surprised by his own achievements during a difficult campaign.

Lewis Hamilton
To news overview © XPBimages

Lewis Hamilton feels that he surprised himself in 2022 through how he coped with a "challenging" year.

After winning the Constructors' Championship for eight consecutive years, Mercedes found themselves struggling when the new season got underway and were unable to match the pace of rivals Red Bull and Ferrari.

The W13 was affected by issues including porpoising, though the team slowly made progress as the campaign progressed.

Hamilton admits that the frustration of those early-season difficulties was "tough" to take.

Hamilton reflects on 'frustration' for the team

"I think, at the beginning of the year, it's more frustration of just not being able to ... You know what you need out of the car, you know where to put it, but it won't [do it]," Hamilton told Channel 4.

"It just doesn't want to go where you want it to go, and it doesn't react the way you want it to go, or anything like any racing car that you've ever experienced in the past.

"This car, in the initial phase, kind of defied all those normal traits that you would experience through your whole racing career."

While Mercedes did not give up in trying to solve the issues, Hamilton admits that it was difficult for everybody involved.

"I think, as a team, we're just trying so many things," he explained.

"We're coming every weekend, we're arriving positive, we're doing the work on the simulator, we're doing the work back in the office.

"But then when you get to track and you hit the ground, it's still the mess that we had in the previous race, and I would definitely say that was tough for everybody."

How Hamilton 'surprised' himself in 2022

One of the challenges of this was maintaining a positive attitude, Hamilton says.

"Having to just continue to stay positive and say, 'No worries, we'll get there' – I think it was tough for everybody," the seven-time World Champion continued.

"And very, very challenging, mentally and emotionally, for everyone in the team, but I'm so proud of how everyone's carried themselves."

As part of this, Hamilton felt a sense of surprise at how he too dealt with the issues.

"I probably even surprised myself in how I was navigated through it," he said.

"[I] just really tried to remember I've been with the team for so long, I've been so privileged to have had success.

"The most important thing is not whether or not we're winning or losing or how; it's more how we carry ourselves as a team, how we show up every week, day in and day out.

"That's been the most important thing, so that's what I'm really trying to focus on."

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