This Sunday in Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton will compete in his 200th Grand Prix for Mercedes F1 – no driver has ever made more appearances for a single team in F1.
But perhaps only one of these 200 Grands Prix comes to everyone’s mind at the outset, especially the race at Yas Marina Circuit last year.
The end of the Grand Prix caused the controversy we know by handing the world crown to Max Verstappen after a human error by the race management as recognized by the FIA.
Does Lewis Hamilton in the Abu Dhabi paddock remember this moment? What happened after Nicholas Latifi crashed?
“I don’t think about it, so I have no idea about the last race here. I have had a very good experience in this circuit in previous years as well. »
Has he considered the final round of Abu Dhabi 2021? To see if he can still resist Max Verstappen’s return with fresh tyres?
“I don’t necessarily look back and think about what I could have done better, in that respect, no. »
Did this Abu Dhabi race also leave traces for Lewis Hamilton? Has it changed in your driving or everyday life? In his love of F1?
” I don’t think so. At first maybe… but yes, my love for the sport is still the same. I hope my commitment and my time here shows that. »
“This year has been very, very different, a year that none of us in the team expected. And he taught us lessons that we did not understand, that we did not experience in the past. And it made us stronger. So this year has been very positive in that regard. »
“What keeps me going? I do not know. This is probably the question I ask myself. Maybe because Fernando and Seb are still there. But now it is clear that we will lose Seb. I do not know. I think I still love what I do. I always love the challenge of trying to evaluate what I’ve learned each year, putting the bad stuff behind me and then putting the good stuff forward. How to improve to be better every time? How to be healthier? How to develop your mind, body and spirit? Yes, we are talking about an adrenaline rush. So of course we are all looking for adrenaline…”
And Lewis will joke with Sebastian Vettel next to him at the press conference.
“I’m sure Seb will have to find something else because driving a tractor won’t do it for him! Maybe he will come skydiving with me. I tried to convince her, but she said that she probably won’t have children…”
The Mercedes driver finally remembers that Abu Dhabi has not completely smiled on him in the past (until 2021).
“Even from my first race here in 2009, I was in the lead and I had a brake failure… I remember I had to retire in that race. So I had a lot of ups and downs here. »
“And, yes, I don’t really focus on what’s behind me and I try harder … I don’t control, but I try to be the best going forward and in the days to come.” »
“And again, like I said, I’m really proud. Crazy about Mercedes. They started with me in 1997 when I was 13, so it’s been a long journey with them. »
Possible victory in Abu Dhabi?
The 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be an opportunity for Lewis Hamilton not only to erase the traces of the past, but also perhaps to win his first Grand Prix of the year.
The Mercedes was indeed the best car on the grid at Interlagos – but what will it do at the Emirates?
“Who knows? We continue to improve the car. »
“We don’t think that we will be the strongest this round. We think it suits others a little better, but honestly, I won’t know until I’m in the field. I hope it will be like the last race. »