Lewis Hamilton was on top of the world in Abu Dhabi, after closing out his championship-winning year with an emphatic victory in the season finale at Yas Marina Circuit.

“I don’t think I was thinking of anything else except being pitch-perfect through the race,” the Mercedes driver said.

He finished almost 17 seconds clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, having led from lights to flag and picking up the bonus point for fastest lap along the way for good measure

“I was just trying to be pitch-perfect. Each corner, beat, rhythm, rhythm, rhythm, and not let it stop,” he added. “I was looking for that perfect execution, and I think I got as close to it as I could today.

“I think today’s race was a really great race for me. Just very consistent, no mistakes, and the team did a great job as well,” he beamed.

Not that it was entirely a walk in the park for the 34-year-old, who has been victorious in 11 of the 21 races this season.

“When you’re out in front like that it’s easy to drop the ball,” he pointed out. “Today I was just trying to advance in a lot of areas, like tyre management.

“[I wanted to] see if I can do that any better, extract any more from the car, make it go longer, and different things – and it worked!”

Hamilton noted that this was the sort of thing he needed to do if he wanted to extend his run of title success in the future, against ever stronger competition rom Mercedes’ rivals.

“I’ve had some great races with Valtteri, Max and Charles this year and I anticipate that it will be even tougher competition in 2020,” he said.

“There’s a lot of youngsters coming through,” he acknowledged. “If you look at the grid, I think that from second to like seventh or eights is all super youngsters.

The podium at Abu Dhabi

“It’s great to be in a period of time where there are such great youngsters coming through. These guys have been doing a phenomenal job and I really feel privileged to in a period of time while they’re here here, and I’m looking to hopefully more close battles in the future. I hope it gets close next year!

Hamilton said he was going to spend his down time over the off-season with family and getting back into tip-top shape in time for 2020.

“[Our rivals] will be working flat out to try and raise the bar, so I’m under no illusion that I will have to do the same this winter, but I wholeheartedly think I can.

“I feel fresh and just ready to keep going and I’m looking forward to another challenge next year.

“I think we’ve learned so much. This has been the biggest year of growth for us as a team, which puts us in a good position and well-equipped with the skills right approach for next year.

“We’re continuing to work hard, even after we’ve won the championship. It’s inspiring for me to see the guys continue to push.

Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates on the podium. 01.12.2019.

“Honestly I’m proud, definitely, but just super grateful for this incredible team and all the people at Mercedes who have continued to push this year,” he told David Coulthard immediately after the finish of Sunday’s race.

“Who would’ve thought at the end of the year we would have such strength?” he commented. “Even though we had the championship won, I wanted to keep my head down and try to see if we could learn and extend and extract from this beautiful car.

“It’s a piece of art!” he added, before heading off to celebrate winning the last race of the year in high spirits. “What a way to finish the season. As a team, as a whole, just so strong.

“I feel so happy with today, man,” he added. “Now I can lean back a little bit and start thinking about the future.”

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