Lewis Hamilton says there was zero chance he was going to walk away from Formula 1 in protest after getting screwed over at the end of the 2021 season ... saying it was tough to swallow, but he's ready to "attack" again.
The racing superstar addressed all the speculation surrounding his future at the Mercedes car launch on Friday ... saying, "Well, I never ever said that I was going to stop."
"I love doing what I do, and it is such a privilege working with this large group of people when you really feel like you're part of a family and part of a team and you're working towards that common goal."
Hamilton was rumored to be plotting his exit from F1 after the controversial finish at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December ... when his hopes at another title were crushed due to the mishandling of a safety car with 5 laps to go.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen was able to catch up and beat Hamilton due to the botched call by race director Michael Masi (who was fired over the issue on Thursday) ... preventing the Mercedes driver from passing Michael Schumacher for most F1 titles.
Hamilton says it took some time to get over the incident with the help of his loved ones.
"There's no feeling quite like it," he added. "I needed to ... 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 created great moments."
"It eventually got to a point where I decided I was going to be attacking again coming into another season with Toto [Wolff] and [teammate] George [Russell]."
Side note -- Mercedes' 2022 car is looking 🔥🔥🔥!!!
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While there was a ton of speculation surrounding Hamilton's future, Wolff says he was never concerned about having to replace Hamilton in 2022.
"He’s positive, he’s determined and he, yet again, adversity that was thrown at him will make him stronger. It’s attack mode."