Lewis Hamilton says he “never ever said” he was going to quit Formula 1 in the aftermath of the contentious 2021 finale but “really needed to take a step back.”
Hamilton lost out in a season-long battle with Max Verstappen after a controversial title-deciding race in Abu Dhabi.
The protocols enacted by Race Director Michael Masi came in for criticism and on Thursday the FIA announced a restructure of the department, with Masi relinquishing the role.
Speaking at the launch of the W13 on Friday, Hamilton said: “Well I never ever said I was going to stop.
“I love doing what I do and it’s such a privilege working with this large group of people when you really feel you’re part of a family, part of a team working towards a common goal. There’s no feeling quite like it.
“It was obviously a difficult time for me and it was a time where I really needed to take a step back, focus on being present so I had my family all around me and creating great moments.
“Eventually, I got to a point where I decided I’m going to be attacking again coming into another season and working with Toto [Wolff] and George [Russell].
“It is exciting seeing George come in and bring his energy. I can already feel that throughout the team and I think it’s going to be an exciting season.”