Lewis Hamilton got his hands on his second World Championship after a superb victory in Abu Dhabi on a day when team mate and rival Nico Rosberg was struck by technical problems.
The Brit’s 11th win of 2014 finally secured him a title to add to the one he earned with McLaren back in 2008.
“This has been an incredible year,” said Hamilton. “I just cannot believe how amazing this has all been. Coming to this team last year, the decision to come here, when a lot of people said it was the wrong choice, the steps we took last year and then coming into this year, it was just unbelievable. And the fan support has been phenomenal. I never in a million years thought I’d have that kind of support.
“I said coming into this weekend that I wouldn’t change the season, the way it’s gone, for anything really because I’ve learnt a lot. If anything, I felt very, very strong with the way I came out of the good and the bad.”
Regarding his relationship with Rosberg he said: “I think it’s been so intense between Nico and myself all year long. There’s been good moments and bad moments. Without a doubt we’ve had a friendship or a relationship that we built a long, long, long time ago, so that will always be there. He was a very, very fierce competitor this year, he did an exceptional job. He’s going to be quick for a long time. I’ve got to pick up my qualifying pace for next year. It could have been either one of us.
“Obviously we both wanted it. But I think with our relationship, we’ll continue to try to lift the team up, we’ll work together as we have done all year long. Perhaps things naturally will ease up a little now. He was graceful enough to come up to me and see me after the race, which I really appreciated. It was really big of him to be able to do that. It’s very, very tough, I know what it’s like losing a championship so, for sure, we’ll keep working at it.”
Hamilton admitted that it had been a season of emotional highs and lows.
“Spa was a low moment. It was a very difficult scenario to be in and going back years ago, I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did this year. I would have chosen another way, which wouldn’t have been a positive, and I guess with age, and just maturing and having a different perspective on life, I think I handled it a different way, I really thought for the following days and really turned my focus to a different area.
“I came back to the next races with a slightly different approach and I won’t explain exactly what I did because I need to bring it to the next races next year but I did tweak some of my approach throughout the weekend which helped me get those wins. I’ve still got some improvements to make, qualifying was good this year but could be better. It would make it much easier if I could get qualifying sorted because the race pace is very much there.”
Lewis is currently signed up until the end of next season, but he is expected to sign an extended deal soon.
“This really is something incredibly special, what this team has put together, and I think we’ve got great people in their right positions. Me and Nico will continue to push the team forward, as will the boss of Mercedes, who have been so committed and building the best engine. These guys know just as much as I do, it’s been phenomenal this year. I think it’s really important the steps we take moving forwards to continue improving and I 100 percent believe the team will do that. I’m looking forward to battling with people for sure, but I do believe that we’ll be there fighting with people hopefully for some time.
“I definitely don’t feel that I’m looking for a new challenge. As I said when I joined this team, I wanted to be a part of something that was building and growing and knew success like the team hadn’t really had before. And so I feel like this is just the beginning. We still have another year to go, so there’s no particular rush, but this is my home. I feel very happy here. And obviously the team did a mega job, so I’m forever grateful for them.”