Whilst suggesting that a number of drivers will be in consistent contention for Formula 1 World Championship glory over the next few years, Damon Hill has tipped Lewis Hamilton to now emerge from the pack as the most consistent of them all.
The McLaren-Mercedes star replaced Hill as Britain's most recent title-winner when he claimed the laurels at the end of a truly extraordinary Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos at the weekend – and in so doing also became the youngest driver ever to inscribe his name upon what is arguably the most coveted trophy in international motorsport. It was Hill, acknowledged, quite a finale.
“I think it was an epic season,” the British Racing Drivers' Club President told Crash.net Radio
. “I think it was an epic final, an epic drive by Lewis and an epic last lap.
“It was the most exciting Formula 1 race I can ever remember watching. It was just tremendous – very, very exciting. There have been a couple of close finishes before, but nothing like that for the world championship.
“We were in the BRDC Clubhouse [at Silverstone], and the excitement was pretty electric here, so I don't know what it must have been like in the Ferrari garage or at Interlagos or in Brazil in general.”
Indeed, the emotions of the 71-lap encounter around the Autodromo Carlos Pace in São Paulo were palpable, with rain both at the start and end of the race threatening to throw the title chase into disarray, and both Hamilton and Ferrari rival Felipe Massa believing they had done enough to clinch the crown as they crossed the finish line.
For the Briton in particular it was a harrowing final few laps, as Sebastian Vettel's pass on him left him in sixth place with just two tours remaining – and therefore, for the second year running, looking like he was going to cruelly miss out on the honours right at the last.
“I would think he was probably thinking a few expletives that are not worth repeating,” Hill joked of the moment the Scuderia Toro Rosso star passed Hamilton, “but there's nothing you can do. You know that all you can do is do your best.
“You're in the frame of mind that you're ready for anything, but of course you don't really want to have a sudden downpour [just before the start], you don't really want to have to make a decision in the last few laps as to whether or not you go onto intermediates – and you don't want to be out of the position where you need to be three corners from the end of the last lap.