Lewis Hamilton says he's hopes to end the season on top as he returns to the scene where he clinched his 2014 F1 world championship and says he is feeling 'no pressure'.
The reigning F1 world champion turned up at the Yas Marina circuit last year with the title hanging finely in the balance in a showdown between him and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton says the pressure of the title fight kept him on edge 12 months ago when he went on to clinch a second F1 world crown, and having already sealed his third title at the United States Grand Prix last month, the British driver approaches the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a fresh mindset.
“Last year, this place brought probably the most intense weekend of my life,” Hamilton said. “I didn't sleep much through nerves and not knowing what was ahead. But this time around there's no pressure, so I'll be well-rested and aiming to go out on a high.”
Hamilton will be keen to overturn Rosberg's recent momentum as thoughts start to switch to the winter and next season. The German driver has won the last two races in Mexico and Brazil along with five consecutive pole positions.
The three-time F1 champion has claimed two victories in Abu Dhabi, in 2011 for McLaren and his title-clinching win last year, and feels the race is one of the highlights on the calendar which creates a special atmosphere.
“The Yas Marina really is a stunning place to hold the season-ending Grand Prix,” he explained. “The organisers clearly spent a lot of time and effort on designing the most spectacular venue imaginable and the track is one I really enjoy driving. It's actually a really challenging circuit. There are a couple of high speed corners but it's mostly medium to low speed, so despite the long straights you need to set the car up with a downforce level tuned for low speed grip.
“It's also a twilight race, starting late afternoon and running into the night, which is quite unusual and I imagine must be pretty cool to watch on TV.
“A lot of British fans come out to Abu Dhabi so it's like another home crowd for me. To win for them and show how grateful I am for the fantastic support I've had all year would be the best way to end an incredible season.”