Lewis Hamilton admits excessive partying led to end-of-year wobble
Mercedes driver vows to bring championship-winning form to first race of new season
Lewis Hamilton: “It is clear that something happens when you win the championship, and in the week after I won the title in Mexico I partied a lot. That is what you do.” Photograph: PA Wire
Lewis Hamilton has promised to bring his championship-winning form to the first race of the new season after admitting too much partying contributed to his end-of-year wobble.
The 32-year-old Briton vowed to end the season in style after a series of immaculate performances, particularly in the second half of the campaign, paved the way for him to wrap up his fourth championship with two rounds to spare.
But he finished only fourth at the penultimate grand prix in Brazil following a crash in qualifying and was then second-best to Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas here at Sunday’s underwhelming season finale in Abu Dhabi, too.
After Hamilton sealed the championship in 2015, he lost the remaining three races to Nico Rosberg and it was a winning momentum the German would carry into his title-winning year. Hamilton had hoped to avoid such a scenario this term, but the English man said: “There is zero concern for me.
“It is clear that something happens when you win the championship, and in the week after I won the title in Mexico I partied a lot. That is what you do.
“I still drove relatively well, but I would not say I was at 100 per cent like I was during the rest of the season. My sleep and energy has definitely been different at these last couple of races.
“I have tried to approach them in the same way, but if you do not prepare in the same way, you do not get the right results. I am not bothered about that. Next year it will go back to how it was in the second half of the season.”
Hamilton will be formally presented with his championship-winning trophy at the FIA’s annual prize-giving gala in Paris on Friday evening. He will then see out the remainder of the year with a number of sponsorship commitments before officially taking holiday midway through December.
The four-time champion, who is out of contract at the end of 2018, is also due to hold further talks with the Mercedes hierarchy over a new deal which could see him become Formula One’s highest-paid driver on £45 million-a-year.
“We have always said that we want to discuss the new contract when the season has come to a close and we are going to start the discussions now,” Hamilton’s Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said.
“It is pretty obvious that we are the team of choice for Lewis and Lewis is the driver of choice for us. We have performed well together this season, and we will want to continue it for a few more years.”