Lewis Hamilton’s emotional victory in last weekend’s British Grand Prix marked more than just a return to the winner’s circle for the seven-time world champion.

The race signaled a turning point for the Briton, who revealed the lingering impact of his destructive defeat on the last lap at the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi season finale, when the title changed hands on a whim between Hamilton and arch-rival, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Hamilton’s triumph at Silverstone was his first win in 56 races, the longest dry spell of his illustrious career. However, the raw emotion displayed during his slow-down lap and later on the podium hinted at a deeper significance.

Speaking after the race, the Mercedes driver opened up about the mental challenges he faced following the Abu Dhabi heartbreak.

“Honestly, when I came back in 2022, I thought that I was over it,” he said. “And I know I wasn’t and it’s taken a long time for sure to heal that kind of feeling.

“And that’s only natural for anyone that has that experience. And I’ve just been continuing to try and work on myself and find that inner peace day by day.”

From despair to tears of joy: Hamilton’s long road back

Hamilton’s emotional outpouring after his Silverstone victory wasn’t just about the win itself. It was the culmination of a grueling journey back from the distress – or rather outright injustice – of Abu Dhabi 2021.

Following that agonizing defeat, which robbed him of a record-breaking eighth championship after a year-long title fight with Verstappen, Hamilton’s future seemed uncertain.

Winter break introspection led to questions about his continued participation in the sport.

Then came the reality check of the 2022 season. Mercedes, caught off guard by the new ground-effect regulations, struggled to compete. Hamilton’s year, and 2023 as well, were marked by his team’s relentless pursuit of a breakthrough.

Finally, in 2024, Mercedes seems to have found the missing piece, the “North Star” in car development according to Hamilton.

This resurgence led to back-to-back victories, with George Russell’s win in Austria followed by Hamilton’s triumph at Silverstone.

Reflecting on the arduous 2.5-year journey, Hamilton spoke openly about the challenges he faced.

“I think with the kind of the adversity I would say that we’ve gone through as a team and that I personally felt, that 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,” he said.

©Mercedes

He acknowledged the mental toll of underachievement.

“And, you know, there’s so many times where you feel like your best shot is just not good enough,” he continued.

“And the disappointment sometimes that you can feel, you know, and we live in a time where mental health is such a serious issue. And I’m not going to lie, that I have experienced that.

“And there’s definitely been moments where you know, the thought that this was it, that that was never going to happen again.

Hamilton’s raw emotion on the podium was a testament to that struggle.

“I think, 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.”

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