British GP: Lewis Hamilton opens up on post-2021 difficulties and Silverstone tears after stunning win (2024)

An emotional and reflective Lewis Hamilton opened up on what it meant to finally win again in Formula 1 at the British Grand Prix - admitting there had been times since the controversial conclusion to the 2021 season when he had "wanted not to continue" in the sport.

Hamilton was brought to tears at the end of Sunday's enthralling wet-dry Silverstone race after a stirring and historic drive brought up a record ninth victory at a single Grand Prix.

Although it also represented Hamilton's record-extending 104th win in F1, it was the 39-year-old's first for 57 races in a drought that stretched back to the Saudi Arabian GP of December 2021, the race before that season's infamous finale in Abu Dhabi when he missed out on a unique eighth world title and Max Verstappen won his first.

Hamilton has rarely even been in contention for victories since then with Mercedes falling from the sport's summit in the wake of new regulations introduced from 2022. The two races that the team had won in that time were claimed by George Russell, most recently last week in Austria.

Having cried on team radio after taking the chequered flag, Hamilton told Sky Sports F1: "It's surreal. My heart is racing.

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"I had so many amazing times here in the past but when I came across the line, something released in me that I have been holding onto for a long time.

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British GP: Lewis Hamilton opens up on post-2021 difficulties and Silverstone tears after stunning win (1)

"It was the most emotional end to a win I have ever experienced. I always wondered why I never cried! You see Rubens Barrichello crying and I was like 'that doesn't happen to me' but it hit me hard.

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"After such a difficult 2021, just trying to continue to come back but we as a team had a difficult time.

"There were so many thoughts and doubts in my mind along the way to the point, at times, I wanted to not continue.

"To arrive and continue to get up and continue to try and finally succeed is the greatest feeling I can remember having."

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British GP: Lewis Hamilton opens up on post-2021 difficulties and Silverstone tears after stunning win (2)

Speaking in the immediate aftermath of the race as he took the acclaim of the 164,000-strong race-day crowd, Hamilton said there had been periods during his time away from the podium's top step when he questioned whether he was both still "good enough" and if he would ever get back to winning ways.

"It's so tough, I think for anyone, but the important thing is just how you continue to get up and you've got to continue to dig deep even when you feel like you're at the bottom of the barrel," he said.

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British GP: Lewis Hamilton opens up on post-2021 difficulties and Silverstone tears after stunning win (3)

"There have definitely been days between 2021 and here where I didn't feel like I was good enough or I was going to get back to where I am today. But the important thing is I had great people around me, continuing to support me. My team, every tine I turned up and saw them putting in the effort, that really encouraged me to do the same thing.

"Otherwise, my fans, when I see them around the world, they have been so supportive. So a big, big thank you to everybody."

British GP: Lewis Hamilton opens up on post-2021 difficulties and Silverstone tears after stunning win (4)

Hamilton on the 'glimpse of hope' that keeps fire burning

Hamilton, who decided at the start of the year he will continue in F1 until at least the end of 2026 by signing an unexpected and blockbuster deal with Ferrari, was given a Union Jack flag from a marshal on his slow-down lap at the end of the race and celebrated with it in front of the Silverstone crowd when he got out of his Mercedes at the end of the race.

He also shared embraces in parc ferme with his mother, Carmen, and his father, Anthony who were both at Silverstone to see their son's return to success.

British GP: Lewis Hamilton opens up on post-2021 difficulties and Silverstone tears after stunning win (5)

British GP: Lewis Hamilton opens up on post-2021 difficulties and Silverstone tears after stunning win (6)

On the huge support he receives from fans, Hamilton said: "I definitely know for sure that I couldn't do what I do without the fans I have. The people I interact with and meet around the world, particularly here in the UK.

"I grew up in Stevenage. My dad came around the corner to give me my first helmet.

"I always thought my parents would be my only followers. It's very incredible to have that support because that really does lift you up when you see people.

"They are so generous with gifting you something or just pumping out positive energy.

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British GP: Lewis Hamilton opens up on post-2021 difficulties and Silverstone tears after stunning win (7)

"That's one thing that keeps me going. And the other is just that glimpse of hope.

"Even if it's the tiniest spec, I just try to not ignore that and continue to focus on my inner peace day by day."

Hamilton, who has the motto 'still I rise' tattooed on his back, added: "Never give up. It's so important. It's the easiest thing to do but you should never do it."

Next up for F1 is the Hungarian Grand Prix from Budapest on July 19-21. You can watch every session live on Sky Sports F1. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - No contract, cancel anytime

British GP: Lewis Hamilton opens up on post-2021 difficulties and Silverstone tears after stunning win (2024)
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