Newly crowned Formula 1 World champion Lewis Hamilton has revealed he hardly slept the night before the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which he eventually won to clinch his second drivers’ title. The 29-year-old Briton entered the season-ending race needing a win to guarantee himself the title, and proceeded to dominate the event at Yas Marina Circuit Sunday to take his 11th triumph of the season.
“It’s very hard to soak all this up. When you’re going through the race, when you’re coming here this weekend, there’s so much pressure from around you, you’re just trying to ignore it, trying to keep your eye on the ball,” said Hamilton.
“Coming in today, I didn’t sleep last night. I went to bed at about 1 a.m. and woke up at like 5 a.m. this morning and I went for a run this morning and a massage and everything and I thought for sure I’m going to be tired when it gets to the race but somehow I felt composed.”
Hamilton started from second on the grid behind his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, the only driver challenging for the title. However, he produced a fabulous start to beat the German to the first turn and then controlled the remainder of the race with a measured, well-executed drive. He had opened up a lead of nearly three seconds on Rosberg nearing the mid-way point of the race, and when Rosberg’s car began to malfunction, it became smoother for the 2008 champion.
“It was like a rocket. It was probably the best start I ever had,” said Hamilton. “I knew from then on, straightaway, that I was in the lead. Obviously going into the race I had a couple of different options of how to approach the race. If I was behind then we’d see how it goes until the first stop but if I was ahead I knew I had to really, really race.”
He also praised the car for his achievement.
“The car was fantastic, we really got it spot on for the race. Obviously qualifying wasn’t perfect but we got it ready for the race and that’s what’s most important.”
Hamilton entered Sunday’s contest just 17 points clear of Rosberg but with double points on offer, finished well clear in the end on 384 points. Rosberg, who has been Hamilton’s nemesis all season, was magnanimous in defeat.
“He was the best driver on the grid this year and it was a great battle between us,” Rosberg said. “And that is what I am racing for – to take part in such battles. Of course there have been intense moments between us but most of the time it was simply fantastic.”