Lewis Hamilton feels his failure to finish the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix sums up his season and admitted he’s glad to see the back of 2022.
The seven-time world champion was running fourth and trying to hold off Carlos Sainz in the closing stages at the Yas Marina Circuit when a suspected hydraulics problem slowed him and forced his retirement with three laps remaining. At the end of a season in which Hamilton finished sixth in the drivers’ championship and failed to win a race for the first time in his career, he said he’s glad to be moving on.
“I am very pleased it is over and done with,” Hamilton said. “I always believed right until the last race that there was potentially a chance. So I think it’s important to hold on to hope and, and just keep working. I gave it everything and I think it was ultimately the last race was almost like the whole season – it summed up my whole year.”
Hamilton also explained the damage his car sustained after cutting Turn 6 in a fight with Sainz on the opening lap, and how his pace improved thanks to changes made at his pit stop.
“I had a strong start, but the car floor took a big hit during the contact with Carlos and everything else unfolded from there,” he said. “When it happens, you just lose a little bit of performance, but the balance basically shifts forwards. It’s almost like you have loads of front wing and I had to wait for the stop to take out front wing – which did improve the balance.”
The 37-year-old said his focus now is to use the challenges of the past season to return to the front on a regular basis in 2023 – Mercedes won just one race all year, in Brazil – but he’s also keen for some time off after a 22-race season.
“We will have the next couple of weeks at the factory, where we will work hard to make sure we can come back stronger next year so we will focus on that,” he said.
“I hope that the struggle this year will provide us with the strength and the tools to fight for more victories in the future – the team in Brackley and Brixworth deserve it, given how hard they’ve worked all year. So, we continue to get up and try. We need to show our strength across this winter and into next season.
“Right now, I am just thinking about my winter. Time with family. Building snowmen day in and day out with my niece and nephew, and teaching them to ski and just being a kid. I am going to have the best time with my mum, deep conversations, train and healthy eating.”