Lewis Hamilton insisted Friday he never said he was going to quit Formula One despite the traumatic end to his 2021 world championship campaign.

The British driver, 37, 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 Hamilton at the launch of the 2022 Mercedes car.

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"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."