Lewis Hamilton is bidding to end his season on a high as he prepares to bring the curtain down on his Formula 1 championship-winning campaign.
Hamilton, who this year became the first British driver to successfully defend his grand prix crown, is set to head to Abu Dhabi for the final round of the season on Sunday.
The capital of the United Arab Emirates also marks the scene of Hamilton’s triumphant success last year after he claimed victory and subsequently beat his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to the title.
This year, Hamilton will arrive in Abu Dhabi with the championship firmly in his possession after he built up an unassailable lead in Austin last month.
But after losing out to German rival Rosberg at both the ensuing races in Mexico and Brazil, the British driver will be keen to return to winning ways before the sport heads into its winter hibernation. “Last year, this place brought probably the most intense weekend of my life,” said Hamilton, who attended the British Fashion Awards in Covent Garden, London on Monday night.
“I didn’t sleep much through nerves and not knowing what was ahead. But this time around there’s no pressure, so I’ll be well-rested and aiming to go out on a high.
“A lot of British fans come out to Abu Dhabi so it’s like another home crowd for me.
“To win for them and show how grateful I am for the fantastic support I’ve had all year would be the best way to end an incredible season,” added Hamilton.
The build-up to Hamilton’s last outing in Brazil was overshadowed by his car crash in Monaco where he lost control of his £1.5 million Pagani Zonda supercar and hit a stationary vehicle.
Rosberg went on to claim his fifth consecutive pole position before winning his second race on the bounce.
And the German, who sealed this year’s runner-up spot ahead of Sebastian Vettel with victory at Interlagos, is hopeful of putting on a good show for the fans in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. “I’ve had two really great weekends now in Mexico and Brazil, so I’m heading into the final race on a massive high,” Rosberg said.
“Abu Dhabi hasn’t always been an easy one for me. Of course, last year was probably my biggest disappointment – losing the title at the last moment with a mechanical problem. But I showed my speed there with pole position and I have good momentum behind me right now, so I’m aiming to end the season on a big positive this time around.
“Of course, it will be close as always with Lewis and we saw a big push from Ferrari in Sao Paulo, so it won’t be straightforward. But I’m up for a battle and hopefully we can put on a great show for the fans to end the year.”