23 November 2014
F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Hamilton - This title means more than 2008
Lewis Hamilton pays tribute to 'professional' team-mate and rival Nico Rosberg after clinching his second F1 world championship with victory in Abu Dhabi.
Lewis Hamilton was initially speechless after clinching his second F1 world championship title with victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but admitted that the emotions were greater than after his first crown six year ago.
The Briton cemented his 17-point advantage over Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by blasting away from the line, claiming the lead into turn one and never looking back. Out front throughout, apart from during the pit-stop windows, he then had the pressure lifted from his shoulders when Rosberg ran into mechanical problems and dropped out of the top five, where he needed to finish should Hamilton hit trouble.
Although Felipe Massa briefly threatened to ruin the party by chasing victory for Williams, Hamilton held firm, coming home just over two seconds clear of the Brazilian – who won the race the last time Hamilton was crowned champion – to take the title in style.
“I'm a bit lost for words really,” he said immediately after the race, “I can't really explain how much this means - it means even more than the first one. It feels like the first time and I feel so blessed….
“This is the greatest day of my life and it's really due to all the people around me. 2008 was a special time in my life, but the feeling I have now is way, way beyond that, above and beyond. It's the greatest feeling ever, and I'm grateful to God, for my car finishing, and really to everyone. Thank you.”
Having initially reported that his getaway on the formation lap was 'not good at all', Hamilton turned things around when the lights went out, claiming that his start was possibly the best he had ever had.
“It was like a rocket!” he exclaimed, “Obviously, going into the race, I had options on how to approach the race - if I was behind, then we would see how it was going to the first stop; if I was ahead, then I knew I really had to race. 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 is what is important.”
Disappointed that rival Rosberg could not be there to keep him honest through the 55-lap encounter, Hamilton admitted that he had been impressed by the German's reaction afterwards.
“He came into the room just now, very, very professional,” he said, “He said 'you drove really, really well'…. and same for him.
“All year long, he drove really well, especially in qualifying, so hats off to him... You know, Nico put on an incredible fight throughout the year. He was a phenomenal competitor. We met each other back in 1997 and we always said that it would be amazing to race together in the same team, fighting for a world championship. He did an amazing job today and it's very sad that the car wasn't quick enough for him to fight in the end...”
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