Lewis Hamilton has admitted that, as the realisation that he is Formula One world champion gradually sinks in, he is discovering more and more reasons for next season to come around quickly.
While the majority of the grand prix circus will be glad to catch its breath after the heart-stopping finale to another whistle-stop tour of the globe, the 23-year old is already beginning to focus on what he will need to do to repeat his success in 2009.
“I want to have an even stronger season next year," Hamilton wrote on the McLaren team website, "I want to train hard over the winter, I really want to be at the peak of my fitness when we turn up in Australia next year.
"But I want to move everything forwards – and I think I've learnt plenty over the last two years that will allow me to build and learn from my experiences. You learn from your mistakes and I want to continue to grow as a driver. I would like to have the most complete season of my career next year.”
Despite going into the Interlagos finale with a seven-point advantage aver only rival Felipe Massa, the Briton came close to letting the title slip through his fingers once again, after dropping out of the top five position he needed to secure the crown. Pitting for suitable tyres when rain returned to the Brazilian circuit, Hamilton was passed on track by Sebastian Vettel, and only recovered to fifth when he passed the 'slick-shod' Timo Glock at the last corner of the last lap.
“The last two laps were the toughest two laps of my entire career because the stakes were just so high," he reflected, "I was pushing and pushing to close the gap to Sebastian, but it wasn't easy because my car wasn't feeling great: I had no rear tyres left, so I just couldn't get close enough.
“Then, as I was in turn ten, the team told me over the radio that Timo was just ahead and was struggling on dry tyres. Through turn eleven, I saw Sebastian pass him and, just as Timo was about to turn in, I dived down the inside and made it through. It felt like ages to hear from the team, but they came on the radio after I crossed the finish line to tell me I was world champion. I was exhausted, but ecstatic.”
The new champion admitted to partying into the early hours in celebration of his title, but insisted that he remembered everything from the night.
“I remember partying hard last year but, this time, I took it a bit more easily as I didn't want to lose this feeling," He claimed, "It meant I could take everything in until the end of the evening. By the end, the DJ was playing We Are The Champions
by Queen and I can remember everyone – the mechanics, engineers, catering people, even the bosses – singing along. You can't put into words how happy you've made everyone. They've put in so much work along the way that they needed that night to bring everything to a close.”