Lewis Hamilton doubts he would have recovered to enjoy the glittering career he had done if he had not scraped the 2008 world drivers' championship on the final lap of the Brazilian GP. Hamilton will return to Interlagos 10 years on from that triumph as a five-time world champion after dominating the past five seasons in Formula 1.
An infamous pass on Timo Glock in the final few metres of the 2008 season saw Hamilton secure the fifth-place required to pip Felipe Massa – who had won the race to prompt Ferrari celebrations – to the title by a single point.
Hamilton had lost out by a point the previous year, sliding into the pit-entry gravel in China denying him a title-winning rookie campaign, and thinks a second crushing defeat on the spin would have finished him off.
"It was definitely one of the most, if not the most devastating experiences losing the first year [in 2007]," he told ESPN. "Even though I didn't expect to win in my first year, the stresses and strains of going through that first year were too much to take as immature as my mind was.
"Then to have to dig myself out of that bottomless pit that I was in, because I was in a deep pit at the end of the 2007, to come back in 2008, be strong, win the first race and then get to the end of the year again ... I don't know how I would have come back from it.
"I don't know how sportsmen find a way to come back.
"I know there are way worse things that can happen in life, but when you have a psychological low, you see sportsmen who are really great and then they have that one blow and it's hard for them to come back."
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