Hamilton and Verstappen enter Sunday’s winner-takes-all contest in Abu Dhabi tied on points knowing that whichever driver finishes ahead will be crowned world champion following a breathtaking 2021 season. 

The seven-time world champion found himself in a similar position five years ago when he was battling then Mercedes teammate Rosberg for the 2016 crown, which he ultimately missed out on despite winning the final round at the Yas Marina Circuit. 

"[I feel] a million times different," Hamilton said when asked how feels compared to his title showdown with Rosberg. 

"It's a much, much different scenario, completely different. A million times better I feel now than I did then. Yeah, I feel good.”

Hamilton said the reasons behind why he feels better is “not something that I particularly really want to go into,” but added: “I’m just in a different place in life to in 2016, facing different resistance in life. 

“This time we’re just in a much better and happier place.” 


Asked if he is a better driver than he was in 2016, Hamilton responded: “Yes. And teammate.” 

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also reflected on the differences between the two title fights. 

“The internal fight was very difficult to manage for us and for me to be neutral and balanced, and he’s in a totally different spot in his life,” Wolff explained. 

“His mindset is great, he’s in a good space. Together as a team, we’re as tight as you can be and as close as you can be. We are fighters. We fight and we never give up. 

"If you lose you can say we’ve given it all we’ve had and then you need to reach out behind and congratulate the other group if they won. There are 24 hours between now and then, and until then, I can tell you we will be fighting.”