Hamilton takes second F1 title in style

Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:53am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - A tearful Lewis Hamilton joined the elite ranks of double Formula One world champions on Sunday after a nerve-racking drive to victory in the floodlit season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In a race overshadowed by the ever-present specter of mechanical failure after the Briton's Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg suffered an early loss of power, Hamilton powered to his 11th win in 19 races.

The 29-year-old, who took his first title with McLaren in 2008, became Britain's first multiple champion since Jackie Stewart in 1971 and only the country's fourth.

"Lewis, thank you very much for not letting the British public down," Britain's Prince Harry told him over the radio from the pit wall as the chequered flag came down. "You are an absolute legend."

Hamilton, crying on the podium as the anthem sounded and with his voice cracking in later interviews, performed a slowing down lap with the British flag fluttering from the cockpit and the words 'Hammer Time' written on it.

"World champion. Oh my God, I can't believe it, thanks everyone," he had shouted over the radio before parking up and embracing his father, pop star girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and family.

The victory was a record 16th of the season for Mercedes, who had already collected the constructors' crown, and for the first time the winner took 50 points in an unprecedented and controversial double points finale.

"This has been just an incredible year. I can't believe how amazing," said Hamilton.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain leaves the pit during the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi November 23, 2014. 
REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah