Lewis Hamilton did not expect to dominate the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the manner he did, having ended his title-winning 2019 Formula 1 season in style.

Hamilton led from start to finish as he converted his first pole position in four months into his 11th victory of the campaign to cap off his strongest season yet in F1, having achieved a new highest-ever points total (413).

The six-time world champion pulled clear at the start and never looked in doubt for the win. Hamilton even set the fastest lap of the race in the closing laps on ageing Hard tyres as he stretched his advantage over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to 16.7s at the chequered flag.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting to have the pace advantage to that extent,” Hamilton said.

“Our long run pace was quite good and I was told that we might be a tenth or two ahead but then in the race we had a bit more of an advantage in that respect.

“And once I got out in the clear I was able to manage my pace pretty well in that first stint and manage the tyres.

“I just had to go as long, basically, as Max was going. Then we got onto that next set of tyres and for this track the tyre was good.

“The hard tyres is quite resilient to any abrasion and that. It goes a long, long way. I think it can do the whole race stint.

“I think towards the end of the race I was like ‘I’ve got to push and see if I can extract any more performance from the car’. I do wish that we had some battles though.”

Reflecting on the year, Hamilton said he was grateful to Mercedes for never losing focus and continuing to strive for perfection, even after both world championships had been clinched.

“What an incredible year it has been - what an incredible stretch it’s been with this team,” Hamilton explained.

“After winning the constructors’ and the drivers’ championship I think it was really important for us as a team to continue to push.

“You know, we hadn’t got absolutely everything from the overall perfect package. So we were just trying to push the limits and push the boundaries and I think this is the perfect way to end the season, on the right foot.

“I think it was a great weekend in the sense that there was a Ferrari and a Red Bull and a Mercedes in the top three, obviously in the finishing order but also on the grid, and then a lot of young drivers behind me, making me feel young, which is great,” he added.

“I’m really just grateful to my team who have continued to push all year long and just have never lost sight of the objective.

“We’ve all had a common goal and inspired each other to continue to push and strive for perfection.”

 

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