LEWIS HAMILTON's revelation that he's "struggling mentally and emotionally" has sparked fears that he will QUIT Formula One.
The seven-time F1 champion says it has been a "constant effort to keep going" at the start of the new season.
Hamilton finished 10th in last Sunday's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and his Mercedes car looks well off the pace of rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.
In an Instagram story on Thursday, Hamilton said: "It has been such a tough year already with everything that is happening around us.
"Hard some days to stay positive.
"I have struggled mentally and emotionally for a long time, to keep going is a constant effort but we have to keep fighting.
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"We have so much to do and to achieve.”
Hamilton, whose first season in F1 was back in 2007, continued by reassuring fans that there is nothing wrong with the different emotions that people go through, and they are "not alone."
He added: "I am writing to tell you it is OK to to feel the way you do, just know that you are not alone and that we are going to get through this.
"A friend reminded me today, you are so powerful and you can do anything you put your mind to. We can do anything we put our mind to.
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"Let's remember to live in gratitude for another day to rise. Sending you love and light."
Hamilton is still recovering from his 2021 heartbreak which saw him lose the F1 title on the final lap of the race to Max Verstappen.
The Brit was in pole position to clinch glory when a safety car was deployed by ex-FIA race director Michael Masi in the final laps of the showdown.
Masi's decision making during the safety car period effectively turned Hamilton into a sitting duck and allowed his bitter foe Verstappen to overtake him and earn his first world title.
But following his talk of struggling mentally, fans fear Hamilton may give up on winning a record breaking eighth world title, which would see him surpass Michael Schumacher.
One said on Twitter: "I'm gonna call it. Hamilton will retire at the end of this season.
"That is, if he makes it to the end. His heart is not in it anymore, he doesn't have the best car and he has too much going on outside of F1."
Another said: "Hamilton will retire at the end of this season."
One fan said: "To continue in F1 after what happened to him in Abu Dhabi.. is brave, if it was me I would of quit if something like that happened to me, Lewis is Legend."
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Hamilton will be back in action this weekend at the Australian GP.
The Brit trails championship leader Charles Leclerc by 29 points.
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