McLaren's Lewis Hamilton reckoned he maximised everything in Abu Dhabi, en-route
to his first victory since the German GP back in the summer.
Hamilton, who came into the weekend under something of a cloud, blaming personal issues for his slump in form [see separate story - click here
], was strong in both practice and qualifying and he took the lead in the race on the opening lap when pole sitter Sebastian Vettel suffered a suspected puncture.
From then on, although Fernando Alonso kept him honest, the Spaniard was never really in a position to challenge and at the 'flag the Hamilton took the spoils at the Yas Marina Circuit by 8.4 seconds.
“This result is just fantastic. I'm usually my own biggest critic – I'm always hard on myself when I make mistakes – but I really felt like I maximised everything today. To be able to sustain that kind of pace, under constant pressure, and not make mistakes, is really satisfying,” Hamilton said following the penultimate round in the F1 2011 World Championship.
“For most of the race I was concentrating on managing the gap to Fernando. He's such a strong driver. He'll never give you an inch, in fact. Into the closing laps, I found myself beginning to think about victory, but I didn't want to do that really so I kept saying to myself: 'Don't even go there!'
“It worked: I stopped my mind from wandering and I didn't allow myself to think about the win until I'd crossed the line.
“To have Jenson [Button – my team-mate] on the podium alongside me was great too – great for me, great for him, great for the team, and a great boost as we move towards the end of the season.
“The team has been fantastic all weekend – the strategy, the pit-stops, everything – really top-class. The whole package came together today and I owe everyone a big thank-you.
“This is so uplifting – for the team and for me.
“To be able to walk away with a smile feels just fantastic: victory is good for the soul,” he concluded.