Lewis Hamilton wins 2014 F1 championship: Lewis knows how to party - watermelon juice for one

Mercedes driver toasts his world title with fruit drink and an early night

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Lewis Hamilton was still coming down after celebrating with Prince Harry at F1’s Amber Lounge post-race party in Abu Dhabi, when he faced the media on Monday morning.

But if the new world champion was on a high, it was just the natural rush provided by claiming his second crown.

“I feel fresh, I only had one drink last night, which is more than good enough for me,” the Mercedes driver said.

“I don’t drink champagne. I had a watermelon juice at dinner, which is my favourite. Then when I was at the party there was some kind of cognac thing... but it didn’t taste very nice. So I had a couple of sips and that was it. I knew I had to be up early as well.”

Where James Hunt might have staggered dishevelled into the morning after the night before, Hamilton celebrated with bright eyes and a spring in his step.

His mobile had gone crazy, the texts and emails flooding in, and he promised to answer them all.

The first champion for a Mercedes works team since Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio in 1955, Hamilton said he spent the evening with family, just reminiscing about the journey they had been on.

Hamilton, winner of 11 races this season, recalled his early karting days, sitting by a gas heater drinking chicken soup from a flask, and the sacrifices his father had made.

“Then I popped out to the party, and [Mercedes motorsport head] Toto [Wolff] was all over the place at that point,” laughed Hamilton, Wolff sitting alongside with a pained expression.

Beaten team-mate Nico Rosberg had tweeted after the race that “now it’s time to fight for the party world championship”. The German, who was not with Hamilton and Wolff yesterday morning, seemed to have won that battle.

Hamilton cheerfully vowed his second world title is just the beginning of a new era.

Hamilton-Scherzinger.jpg
Hamilton embraces girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger

When he crossed the finish line at Yas Marina on Sunday 2.5 seconds ahead of Felipe Massa, it ended the six-year drought since he beat the Brazilian to his first championship at Interlagos. After the rise of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull, Mercedes were able to upstage the Milton Keynes team under 2014’s controversial new eco-engine formula.

“Winning one championship was exceptional, it was my dream and you can never be not satisfied with that,” Hamilton said. “You never know when you’re really going to get another one; not everyone gets to work with such great teams and have the opportunity to have a great car and dominate the way we’ve dominated this year.”

The only other Britons to win more than one title are Graham Hill and Jim Clark with two apiece, and Jackie Stewart with three.

“The second one many years after, it feels like it’s the first. I feel like I’m having the first experience.

“Of course I’m going to push as hard as I can. I’m grateful that I generally feel great, I’m still young, still have a lot to learn, still a lot to improve on and I’m definitely not finished. I’m going to come back stronger.”

Immediately after Sunday’s race Hamilton said this latest success was far more satisfying than the first, and he expanded on the feeling.

Hamilton.jpg

“Obviously the first one was exceptional, it was an incredible feeling achieving your lifelong goal of getting to Formula One and winning the world championship. It was great. But I don’t know if I was in the place to really embrace it and absorb it in the way that I am today. Of course, being a part of this team it’s definitely a more satisfying feeling winning the championship with this team, with a young team that worked so hard to get to where we are and to be a part of that journey is something very, very special.

“I guess just being in a different stage of my life. Maybe it just feels sweeter being a bit older. It’s very, very special and very much a humbling experience.”

Niki Lauda, Mercedes non-executive chairman, said he believed they  would have a far easier time handling Hamilton and Rosberg next season following the latter’s exemplary behaviour in the wake of his world title defeat.

Whatever difficulties the duo may have encountered this year, Rosberg proved himself to be magnanimous in defeat by immediately seeking out Hamilton to offer his congratulations.

That highly impressed Lauda, who has been forced to intervene on occasion this year after a breakdown in the drivers’ relationship.

“The biggest pleasure I had, where I nearly became emotional, was when I saw Nico go up and congratulate Lewis,” said Lauda. “That was really an outstanding performance from Nico, especially because I know the discussions we had after Spa, because their relationship was the opposite of what we saw yesterday.”

Comments