Hamilton reveals ‘defining moment of my life’

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Lewis Hamilton says that standing up and holding his head high to congratulate Max Verstappen on winning the world title in Abu Dhabi in 2021, has been the “defining moment” of his life.

Formula 1’s finale that year at Yas Marina was a whirlwind of emotions for fans and drivers alike.

A late safety car completely changed the complexion of the race, leading to a series of decisions by then FIA race director Michael Masi that proved highly contentious and to a final lap shootout that ultimately handed Verstappen his first championship.

An FIA investigation later acknowledged Masi's actions as a "human error."

It marked a bitter setback for Hamilton, a moment he described as 'hurting the most' throughout his illustrious career. Surprisingly, it wasn't the defeat itself but the events that unfolded afterward that etched themselves indelibly into his memory.

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In a recent interview with GQ Sports, Hamilton delved into his emotions and experiences on that fateful day, emphasizing the significance of having his father Anthony's unwavering support beside him and adhering to the principles instilled in him since childhood.

“Was I robbed? Obviously," Hamilton said. "I mean, you know the story.

“But I think what was really beautiful in that moment, which I take away from it, was my dad was with me. And we’d gone through this huge roller coaster of life together, ups and downs.

"And the day that it hurt the most, he was there, and the way he raised me was to always stand up, keep your head high.

"And I obviously went to congratulate Max, and not realizing the impact that that would have, but also I was really conscious of, like, there’s a mini-me watching.

“This is the defining moment of my life. And I think it really was. I felt it.

"I didn’t know how it was going to be perceived. I hadn’t, like, visualized it. But I was definitely conscious of, these next 50 meters that I walk is where I fall to the ground and die—or I rise up.”

The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix continues to cast a long shadow, holding the potential title of most controversial race in F1 history.

While the sting of defeat undoubtedly lingers whenever he sees a clip of the moment, Hamilton has come to terms with the outcome.

“If I see a clip of it, I still feel it,” he explained. “But I’m at peace with it.”

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