Abu Dhabi: Newly crowned five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton wants to sign off the season with “his best” after Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff had pledged the manufacturer will “really go for broke” at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The team wrapped up both titles at the Brazilian Grand Prix earlier this month and Mercedes spent the last few races prioritising its championship bids, while ensuring Hamilton outscored Ferrari and defeated Sebastian Vettel.
“The 2018 season definitely ranks somewhere on the top. We are trying to finish off the season strong, and at the moment it does feel like one of the best years that I can remember, competition-wise,” Hamilton told media at the pre-event press conference in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
“Honestly, I have not really thought about this. But as a team we have always tried to be as compact as possible. There are days when we have started from the back of the grid and made our way through to the top. It is these times that define our sport. There are times when weather has intervened as well. All that we have wanted to do is show a true sense of strength within the team through these acts,” he added.
Hamilton sealed his fifth crown at the previous Grand Prix at the Interlagos in Brazil, thanks to Max Verstappen’s controversial clash with Esteban Ocon.
But, Hamilton suffered engine damage during the race and it is unknown till now if it will affect his final race of the season by forcing him to run a high-mileage or turned-down engine, or take a grid penalty to fit a new one.
That aside, Hamilton paid a perfect compliment to his one-time McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso, who will be participating in his final F1 race in Abu Dhabi this weekend. “He [Alonso] has been here before I was here. We have grown together. It has been a privilege to be racing with him. I will miss him and the sport will miss him. We have been acting like old men,” Hamilton related.
The popular British driver refused to believe that there was anything personal between Alonso and himself. “Honestly, I never had a personal issue with Fernando [Alonso]. It was more to do with the team,” Hamilton said.
“We only tried to beat each other on the track. Off the track we used to play NBA. I have always respected him and wish him all the best for all his future endeavours,” he added.