Hamilton appeared alongside new teammate George Russell as Mercedes unveiled their 2022 car at Silverstone on Friday, ending months of uncertainty surrounding the 37-year-old’s future in the sport.
The Mercedes driver was beaten to title by rival Max Verstappen as the season ended in controversy at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December, and although Mercedes had hinted on social media in recent weeks that Hamilton would return for a 16th season in the sport, the Briton had largely remained silent.
‘’I never said I was going to stop,” Hamilton said. “I love doing what I do. It was a difficult time for me, a time I needed to take a step back. I had my family around me and created great moments.
‘’Then I got to a point where I decided to go on the attack again and wanted to work with Toto and George [Russell]. It’s cool to see George come into the team with his energy. I feel that already within the team and look forward to the season.”
The news comes after the FIA confirmed that Michael Masi would be replaced as F1’s race director next season following a review into the controversial end to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the result of which was reportedly crucial to Hamilton’s future in the sport.
“It’s surreal, 10 years since coming to the factory,” Hamilton said at the launch of the W13. “The seat was like when I was here in 2013, how exciting it was, a privilege.
“The journey has been phenomenal. I have not set any goals. Every individual works to the ultimate goal of winning a world championship, raising the bar and doing something nobody else has done before.”
Team boss Wolff said Hamilton needed time following the end of the last season but said he had always been confident he would return for the 2022 campaign.
“No, I was never worried [Lewis Hamilton would quit] – although you have to respect the driver is disillusioned,” he told Radio 4.
“Lewis was the best guy on track, dominating, and then it is taken away by an individual against the rules, so to digest that is that very difficult.
“He is in love with the sport and we are ready to hunt for victories and hopefully the world championship. He is in the right mindset.
“Lewis is all about justice and sporting fairness. He needed time to reflect, he comes back strong, and is in good spirits.”