AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton celebrated in true Texan fashion after winning his third Formula One world title and the party could go on to the end of the year.
“I plan the next couple of months to be party time,” the Briton had declared before joining his Mercedes team mates at the original Pete’s Dueling piano bar in Austin’s historic East Sixth Street.
The establishment describes itself as a “a sing-along, clap-along, drink-along, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar” and Hamilton was in the mood.
“My mum’s 60th is coming up, I’ve got friends’ events coming up, more races to win, got the team after-year party, the Stars and Cars...Jeez, man. I’ve got to get some good sleep because there’s going to be a lot of partying as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
The party was also to celebrate Mercedes retaining their constructors’ title and Hamilton’s team mate Nico Rosberg, almost motionless on the podium a few hours earlier, was even more up for it.
Mercedes posted a picture on their Twitter account of the German belting out Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” on stage, with the comment ‘Sing it out Boy, you’ve got to see what tomorrow brings.”
Hamilton, who will be racing again in Mexico this weekend and has already developed a taste for Tequila, said he could appreciate just how much steam Rosberg had to let off after another tough year.
Rosberg’s frustration with his race, in which he came out worse in a first corner clash with Hamilton and then made a late error that cost him victory, was encapsulated by an incident before the podium when Hamilton tossed him a cap and had it thrown back at him.
“I literally said ‘here you go mate’ and then it came back at me. I can understand in many respects how it is,” said Hamilton.
“It’s the worst thing to be my team mate,” added the champion, who has won 10 races this year to Rosberg’s three.
Last year the balance was 11 to Hamilton and five to Rosberg.
“I don’t think I can enjoy it any more than I have been. I have been enjoying this year like, if only you knew,” Hamilton said of his season. “I have been enjoying this year like it was my last. It really has been unbelievable.”
Asked to define whether he was having fun like a playboy or a rockstar, he smiled: “Both. Both, definitely.
“It is just work hard play hard,” Hamilton, who was interviewed on the Austin podium by singer Elton John, said of an approach that has made him a regular in the celebrity gossip pages with regular visits to America’s east and west coasts.
“I have just struck a real nice balance. At some points you are like it is really on the limit and then I get in the car and I drive the way that I do.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Martyn Herman