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British GP: Lewis Hamilton ending 945-day drought makes for ‘special’ win

British GP: Lewis Hamilton ending 945-day drought makes for 'special' win

SILVERSTONE, England — For the first time in a glittering career spanning three decades and 344 grands prix, Lewis Hamilton was moved to tears as he took the chequered flag in Sunday’s Formula One British Grand Prix.

At all of his previous 103 grands prix victories — including those that sealed championships and shattered records — he had kept his emotions in check. This one was different.

“When I came across that line, something released in me that I guess I’ve been holding on to for a long time,” Hamilton explained on Sunday evening at Silverstone. “It was the most emotional end to a win that I’ve ever experienced. I’ve always wondered why I never cry, and I always thought I guess it doesn’t happen to me, but it hit me hard this time.

“I think after such a difficult year in 2021, we just tried to continue to come back but also, we as a team have had a really difficult time and there were just so many thoughts and so many doubts in my mind along the way, to the point of, at times wanting to not continue. So to arrive and to continue to get up and to continue to try and to finally succeed, is honestly the greatest feeling I can remember having.”

His cathartic cooldown lap marked the end of a 945-day victory drought; a winless period dating back to the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and the final throes of his heady title battle with Max Verstappen. Just a week after that 103rd career win in Jeddah, Hamilton suffered the most bruising defeat of his career when the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and an eighth world title were ripped from his grasp.

Two and a half years on from that feverish night, the mental scars inflicted by the controversial actions of then-race director Michael Masi — actions the FIA later put down to human error — are occasionally visible. Asked if the win at Silverstone was the final piece of the puzzle he needed to finally move on from the events of 2021, Hamilton said, “I think only time will tell.”

His answer then drifted off to his decision to move to Ferrari next year and his ongoing love for F1, before coming back to the topic at hand.

“Honestly, when I came back in 2022, I thought that I was over it,” he said. “But I know I wasn’t, and it’s taken a long time to heal that kind of feeling — that’s only natural for anyone that has that experience. I’ve just been continuing to try and…

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