Despite being criticised by some for missing the opening two races of this season, Pascal Wehrlein says his injury was “private” and he wanted to keep it that way.
The Sauber driver missed the Australian and Chinese grands prix after suffering a back injury during January's Race of Champions.
But it wasn't until last week that the full extent of his injuries was revealed to the public.
Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn announced that the driver had suffered compression fractures in the crash while Wehrlein later posted images on Twitter of himself in a brace.
"I was allowed to, but I didn't want to," Wehrlein told Motorsport.com of his decision to only recently make the photos public. "I think I'm not someone who likes to share everything in public.
"My social media I use it more as a race driver where I do my job and then I like to have a private life as well, so I don't share a lot of my private life on social media.
"And this injury was something private. In the end, it was something serious."
However, Wehrlein's silence saw the driver scorned by some especially as it is billed as a lack of fitness that was keeping him out of the car.
Asked if he now felt the secrecy had been 'a mistake', he replied: "No, I don't think so. As I said already last week, people were judging what I was doing without knowing what my situation was.
"Everyone knew that I was injured. Everyone knew that I had to get the green light from the doctors, I had to be cleared by the FIA, so normally that doesn't happen if you have muscle pain.
"We said it's a back injury and it will be fine with some time. That's what we said. We didn't lie to anyone, we didn't hide anything. We always said I had a back injury. It's not a problem because we knew I would come back soon.
"That's what we said. Then people started to create their own fantasy."
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