Lewis Hamilton labelled his 2018 season as an “uplifting experience” after taking his eleventh victory of the year at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to round off a campaign that saw him claim a fifth world championship.
Hamilton finished two seconds ahead of Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel at the Yas Marina Circuit, however the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver never came under serious threat from the German. The Brit’s victory took him to 408 points for the season, a new Formula 1 record.
Mercedes were locked in battle with Ferrari for the whole of the first half of the season, before they and Hamilton capitalised on some errors from the Italian team and Vettel. Post-race, Hamilton paid his thanks to the team and the fans who supported him through a “great” year.
“This has been a great year and I’m so thankful for so many things,” said Hamilton. “For my health, for my team, for all the hard work everyone’s done non-stop at the factory and on the road.
“I also want to say thank you to all the fans who’ve saved up and travelled and came to the races and those supporting us from home and who’ve been sending their positive energies and their prayers – a big, big thank you to everyone.
“This year has been a very uplifting experience for me. I wanted to come here and make sure that I left no stone unturned; the team did an exceptional job all year long, so I really wanted to deliver for them and end the season off strong. I think I was able to do that and I’m really grateful for all the support throughout the entire year.”
Briefly touching on the race, Hamilton said that he enjoyed a race that only saw him make one on-track overtake, against eventual third placed man Max Verstappen on lap nine after his early pitstop for super-soft tyres. It was to be the 33-year-old’s only tyre change of the evening, stretching the life of the red-walled tyres to 48 laps.
And while his former title rival Fernando Alonso potentially bows out of Formula 1 for good, Hamilton hopes that his longevity continues for a while yet as he heads into a thirteenth season in the series.
“I’ve been able to be a better me all year long and I will continue to try to work on that and try to work on the energy that I’m projecting to people,” he added.
“I had a lot of fun in the car today – I love driving, I loved driving every minute today and I hope I have many more days to go.”