Lewis Hamilton has raised concerns over both his unusual pre-race preparation with Will Smith plus a cautious tyre strategy but had faith in his Mercedes squad to dominate to an 11th victory of the year to cap an outstanding 2018 Formula 1 world title-winning campaign.

Hamilton led from pole position before pitting during an early Virtual Safety Car, triggered by Kimi Raikkonen’s mechanical breakdown for Ferrari on the start/finish straight, which dropped him to fifth place.

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While managing his tyre life over a long stint to the chequered flag, Hamilton duly saw his rivals pit ahead of him to regain the lead before managing the gap to Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to take a comfortable victory.

Hamilton becomes the first driver in F1 history to break the 400-point barrier in a single season, finishing on 408 points, with 11 wins and 11 pole positions to cap a stellar campaign having secured his fifth world title.

After the race Hamilton revealed he spent most of his preparation doing sponsor and media work with Hollywood star Will Smith, who was a Mercedes and F1 guest in Abu Dhabi, which “completely changed my pattern”, according to the British driver.

“We had an unconventional weekend as yesterday morning we were filming something and then this morning we did various stuff with Will,” Hamilton said. “Will is the original hype man, he is hyper, he brings a lot of energy. He is really like a big brother to me.

“We were doing some filming and stuff like 10 minutes before I got in the car which I never do as that is usually the period of time I get ready so I was going into the race having completely changed my pattern.”

 

 

 

Hamilton was also anxious about his tyre strategy having been the only front-runner to pit under the Virtual Safety Car, despite having the plan as part one of his key strategies before the race in the eventuality of an early VSC, but was cautious over making his tyres last the remainder of the race with his rivals on fresher rubber attacking in the final laps.

“It was the right, it was on my strategy before we went into the race so I anticipated that would be the case,” he said. “Sometimes, less often, but sometimes during the year we could do the whole race distance on the same tyre before the tyre falls apart but I am always cautious when they say you could do the whole race distance without stopping in the race.

“My engineers always talk about stopping super early. They're way too chilled behind the wall!

“I was like 'yeah, I’ve got a long way to and this doesn’t feel too good right now'. But it lasted long, once again they were calculated and correct and that’s why we have to put so much trust in those guys.

“A big, big thank you to Mercedes and all of the team, all of the sporting partners. We wouldn’t have had this championship without them.”

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