Lewis Hamilton insisted on Friday he never said he was going to quit Formula One despite the traumatic end to his 2021 world championship campaign.
37-year-old Hamilton was speaking for the first time since he lost the championship in controversial circumstances to Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi on December 12.
“I never ever said I was going to stop,” said seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton at the launch of the 2022 Mercedes car.
“I love doing what I do, and it is such a privilege working with this large group of people and you feel like you are part of a family. There is nothing quite like it.”
Reflecting on the moments after the Yas Marina race, Hamilton, who appeared alongside new team-mate George Russell and team boss Toto Wolff, added: “It was a difficult time for me and a time where I needed to take a step back and focus on the present.
“I had my family all around me and creating great memories.
“I eventually got to a point where I decided I would be attacking again coming into another season and working with Toto and George.”
The record 23-race 2022 season is set to kick off in Bahrain on 20 March.