Hamilton stunned by 'first Ferrari compliment in 13 years'

He is fighting Max Verstappen, who starts second, for third in the championship and trails the Red Bull driver by 11 points.

"There's a lot of youngsters coming through and, if you look at the grid, from second to seventh or eighth was all super youngsters", said Hamilton, who turns 35 in January.

"I felt a bit more comfortable yesterday with the auto overall but obviously for me the only thing I was trying to keep in my mind was the race because I knew I'm going to be starting last".

But none of them got close to launching a serious challenge for Hamilton's crown.

"If I'm given the freedom to continue to manage the team in an entrepreneurial way like so far, and I have no doubt that they will, it's a place that is simply enjoyable from my side, and provides me with entrepreneurial opportunity". We tried everything we could.

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Wolff's contract as the head of Mercedes motorsport is also believed to expire at the end of 2020, but he is also tied to the role by a 30 percent stake in in the team, which is majority-owned by Mercedes' parent company Daimler.

The Finn, whose chances of a strong result were dashed before the weekend started when he needed an engine change, said after qualifying that he had started feeling worse since he landed in Abu Dhabi. I travel around the world to 21 different countries, and probably even more, and people continue to inspire me, send me messages and lift me up. So, thank you, and I'll take it.

"It's always good to finish the year with donuts down the main straight, which our drivers are very good at, and I think it's been a great second half of the year for Formula One". Of course from a personal level, we both want to know what the other one does.

"I love where I am, so it is definitely not a quick decision to go and do something else", Hamilton said. "It's all talk, but it's nice that, finally, it's taken all these years for them to recognise me, but I'm grateful".

  • Lawrence Cooper