Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton lost out to Max Verstappen in controversial fashion during the 2021 F1 season finale.
In the aftermath of the event, Hamilton has spoken about what is the most disturbing element that he has been forced to deal with, especially when it comes to Verstappen, who stormed to his second successive world championship this season.
Hamilton alluded to the “big, ugly” No. 1 car that he had to see throughout the 2022 season which rubbed in the fact that Verstappen got the better of him last term.
Many felt Hamilton was destined to win a record eighth world championship in 2021, but dubious decision-making from the then race director Michael Masi saw Verstappen end the night with his maiden title.
Hamilton has had the opportunity to use the ‘No. 1’ in the past as this is something that is offered to the reigning world champion.
However, keen to establish his ‘No. 44’ brand, Hamilton did not accept this.
Verstappen, meanwhile, chose to change his car number from 33 to 1 when offered the chance.
“It was definitely not easy, I think,” Hamilton said.
“I think it’s more the the big ugly number one, as big as you could put it, on the car.
“Nah I’m kidding, I’m not really fazed by any of these things as much as some people like to think . They’ll say things, and do things hoping for a reaction but I’m really just some chilled, I don’t really care about those things.”
As things turned out, Hamilton endured one of his worst seasons in F1 in the season that just passed.
The Stevenage-born driver failed to win a single race for the first time since entering the sport in 2007.
“Of course I would love to have been at the forefront, fighting and battling with them,” he said.
“It’s been an interesting journey seeing what they’ve been going through.
“So again, just turning whatever negative feeling I have, I try to take it, brush it aside and move forward.”
Support from fans is a big reason for Hamilton to continue racing, despite earlier claiming that he was considering an early retirement to focus on a career in the entertainment industry.
“I was definitely not expecting the what would come after in terms of the amazing support from the fans of the sport but particularly my fans and the general love that I have experienced through the year,” he said.
“That, I think, is what’s got me through the year of the challenge, of coming back here and wanting to fight back but not being able to fight back with the car that we have.
“And then on the same weekend even though you’re finishing maybe sixth, fight for your fifth whatever it is, and the amazing support we’ve had through the year, bigger crowds than ever before.
“I think us as a team we’ve experienced more love and affection from people than ever before. And I think that’s been really, really beautiful to see.
“In general, I can’t say in general, but I know some people in life struggle to accept love. I’ve definitely been someone that’s been like that for a long time.
“And so this year was one that I was able to be able to, like open up a little bit more and absorb it and that’s really been a beautiful experience. So I’m really really grateful for that.”
Read more: Max Verstappen ‘hatred’ for Sergio Perez opens early Red Bull entry gate for Daniel Ricciardo