Lewis: “I’m a bit lost for words”

Lewis: “I’m a bit lost for words”

Lewis, you did it. We saw the emotion on your face now when they were playing your national anthem. Can you try to put that into words for us, just how much this means to you?

I'm a bit lost for words really. I think one thing I want to say is a big, huge thank you to all the fans coming out all this way, all the flags, all the caps, everything, it made such a difference this weekend. Also to my family, thank you guys, thank you so much for coming, I really, really do appreciate it. My mum back home. And my team, who throughout the year did an incredible job and without them I wouldn't be here today. I can't really explain how much this means. It means even more than the first one. It feels like it's the first time. I feel so blessed.

Wow. Tell us about the race a little bit, what a start you had to the grand prix!

Yeah! That's my guy down here, giving me a good start. It was like a rocket! It was probably the best start I ever had. I knew from then on, straightaway, that I was in the lead. Obviously going into the race I had a couple of different options of how to approach the race. If I was behind then we'd see how it goes until the first stop but if I was ahead I knew I had to really, really race. The car was fantastic, we really got it spot on for the race. Obviously qualifying wasn't perfect but we got it ready for the race and that's what's most important.

And then you heard on the radio: 'Nico has a problem'. What were your thoughts then?

You know Nico put on an incredible fight throughout the year. He was a phenomenal competitor. We met each other back in 1997 and we always said it would be amazing to be racing in the same team and he did an amazing job today and very sad obviously to know that his car wasn't quick enough that we can fight in the end but still he was graceful enough to come up to me just now.

Do you mind sharing with us what you said to each other after such an intense season? It's been a bit difficult from time to time between you, especially at Spa, and we saw you having words together.

He just come into the room just now, very, very professional, and I just said fantastic. He said 'you drove really well'. And the same to him, all year long he drove incredibly well, especially in qualifying, so hat off to him.

Lewis, what happens now in your life - in the next few hours, days, months?

I really don't know. I'm just going to take it one day at a time. This is the greatest day of my life, as I said. It's realty due to all the people around me. 2008 was a special time in my life. The feeling I have now is way, way past that and above and beyond. It's the greatest feeling ever. I'm grateful to God, I'm grateful for my car finishing and really, to everyone, thank you so much everyone. Thank you.

You've had a little time there to collect your thoughts after the whirlwind of the race and the podium. It's been a long tough season. You did it in style though, with that sensational start and a victory. How important was that to you today and what was the turning point this year?

It's very hard to soak all this up. When you're going through the race, when you're coming here this weekend, there's so much pressure from around you, you're just trying to ignore it, trying to keep your eye on the ball. Coming in today... Niki was right, I didn't sleep last night. I went to bed at about 1am and woke up at like 5am this morning and I went for a run this morning and a massage and everything and I thought for sure I'm going to be tired when it gets to the race but somehow I felt composed and my family came and surprised me at breakfast, which was really a great thing. I wanted them to be here but I just knew how intense the weekend would be and I didn't know if I was going to have time to give them any time. I didn't want to finish the day or the weekend saying 'I wish did that or I wish I did that'. This has been an incredible year. I just cannot believe how amazing this has all been. Coming to this team last year, the decision to come here, when a lot of people said it was the wrong choice. The steps we took last year and then coming into this year, it was just unbelievable and then again, as I said, the fan support has been phenomenal. I never in a million years thought I'd have that kind of support, so as I said before, this is the greatest moment in my life. It's very hard to... it feels very surreal. It feels like an out-of-body experience. I feel like I'm back here watching this going on, it's not really happening. So I'm going to really make sure I gift my thanks and count my blessings.

Lewis, now you have won the championship with Mercedes, will this boost your chances to renew your contract and stay with the team beyond 2015, or make you look for another new challenge?

I definitely don't feel that I'm looking for a new challenge. As I said when I joined this team, I wanted to be a part of something that was building and growing and knew success like the team hadn't really had before. And so I feel like this is just the beginning. We still have another year to go, so there's no particular rush but this is my home. I feel very happy here. And obviously the team did a mega job, so I'm forever grateful for them.

Lewis, forgive my ignorance on this, a start like that that you got today, a phenomenal start, how much of that is technical and how much of it is human? How much of it is the athlete?

The car... very little is the athlete. Obviously we have a sequence that we have to go through and we have to perform at the right time, making sure that you prepare the clutch throughout the weekend, prepare your tyres when you get to your spot. I would very closely with the engineer who works with my clutch. He came to my room before the race and asked "how do you want to approach this." I said: "the same as every time. We don't need to do any more or any less." When the start goes, when you do the formation lap, you get a feel for how good the clutch is at that point. You have to guide them or give them feedback whether you need more torque or more slip. Anyways, we hit is spot on. The second part, when you let out the second part and you feed the throttle, that's when the driver comes it. But it was for sure... it felt like the best start I've ever had. Absolutely phenomenal.

Could you please comment on the best thing in the season for you? And the worst part of the season?

Spa was a low, the lowest point. This is the highest. By a long, long, long way. I said coming into this weekend that I wouldn't change the season, the way it's gone, for anything really because I've learnt a lot. If anything, I felt very, very strong with the way I came out of the good and the bad. Obviously coming to the last race, knowing it's double points, which... jeez... do you think it was a good idea? Didn't feel like a good idea when we came into it. I'll take the points though...

The UAE loves welcoming the Formula One and all these amazing drivers here year after year. I want to know, after the race, where do you go in the UAE. What are your favourite things to do while you are here? How do you unwind after a race like this?

Firstly, I love coming here every year, the fifth year of coming to this race. Every year it's without doubt one of the best grands prix if not the best grand prix in terms of the whole atmosphere. A lot of the Brits came over here, they get to enjoy a holiday at the same time because it's such a beautiful, peaceful place. I went for a run by the water today, the last time I won I went jet-skiing because it's so nice on the water here. But afterwards... I have no idea what I'm going to do tonight. I've got to try to absorb this bit-by-bit. As I said, my family's here, so definitely going to have a nice dinner with them. And I think I'll have a drink tonight.

Lewis, after winning today, what's your message to your fans, after winning this championship?

My message to my fans... I always say we win and we lose together. This weekend I had my guy who does my website put together a collage of different clips of messages from people. And I really didn't know what to expect when I got it. I got it and there's something happening in my heart. I can't really explain it. The love and positive energy that I get from my fans and the support through thick and thin, y'know through the good and the bad, they've been there. So big thank you to them. They really helped me get through the bad moments and make it even more special being at the top. Seeing them out there today, all the flags, the caps, it really made me believe that I can do anything. So big thank you to them.

You told us yesterday that you felt you were a lot wiser coming into this race, as opposed to 2008. How did the emotions compare - and why is this moment the greatest moment of your life or career?

Well, 2007 was a very bad experience, obviously losing the championship I fell to a low that I couldn't control and 2008 came back, fighting in the championship, Felipe won the race, won the championship for a second and then obviously what happened in the last corner, I got it back and for me I'd lost it, won it, lost it and, whilst it was a great experience, my emotions were shot. I don't know, that year, I was just immature. I didn't have the knowledge that I have now. Didn't approach the race the same as I did today. Today I went in... normally you go in butterflies in the stomach, a bit nervous, today I was going into the race thinking 'I feel extremely calm', which is really weird. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Obviously it was a really good thing. Last night sitting there thinking, Jeez, tomorrow is the day. We could go into the race, something could happen to the car and that would be the championship done. Naturally just thinking of all the negative things possible, you know? And working really hard to bring the positives into it. I brought that today. I think really that knowledge and experience got me through the race today. Looking after the car. Battling to the point where I'd got the championship in a good position and then, obviously it helped that Nico's car was not performing properly so, when he fell out of the points, I knew that I could fight with Felipe and... yeah... that was the most fulfilling experience I have to say.

Lewis, coming into this weekend, there was a lot of talk about your personal relationship with Nico Rosberg. Now that it's all over, how are you going to take that forward and the history that you have, what's your relationship going to be like going forward. What's your thoughts on it?

I think it's been so intense between us all year long. There's been good moments and bad moments. Without a doubt we've had a friendship or a relationship that we built a long, long, long time ago, so that will always be there. He was a very, very fierce competitor this year, he did an exceptional job. He's going to be quick for a long time. I've got to pick up my qualifying pace for next year. It could have been either one of us today. Obviously we both wanted it. But I think with our relationship, we'll continue to try to lift the team up, we'll work together as we have done all year long. Perhaps things naturally will ease up a little now. He was graceful enough to come up to me and see me after, which I really appreciated. It was really big of him to be able to do that. It's very, very tough, I know what it's like losing a championship so, for sure, we'll keep working at it.

Lewis, can you explain to us more about the turning point at Spa-Francorchamps? What happened exactly when suddenly you started winning, winning, winning - probably this is the main reason you are here, celebrating the world title?

Yeah. Well, Spa was a low moment. It was a very difficult scenario to be in and going back years ago, I wouldn't have reacted the way I did this year. I would have chosen another way which wouldn't have been a positive and I guess with age, as I said, and just maturing and having a different perspective on life, I think I handled it a different way, I really thought for the following days and really turned my focus to a different area. I came back to the next races with a slightly different approach and I won't explain exactly what I did because I need to bring it to the next races next year but I did tweak some of my approach throughout the weekend which helped me get those wins. I've still got some improvements to make, qualifying was good this year but could be better. It would make it much easier if I could get qualifying sorted because the race pace is very much there. Inside the team? Nothing really changed, I don't believe. The team has been amazing. It's been very hard for them. They've wanted both of us to win, having to be very balanced but ultimately they've done an exceptional job. It is a great group of people in this team; there's a lot of love in this team, a lot of passion and it's been a real privilege to work with these people.

You're a multiple British World Champion now, joining the likes of Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill. What do you think you can go on to achieve now? You've got a fantastic team and car and obviously in great form. Do you think this could be the start of a Lewis Hamilton era?

I don't know. This really is something incredibly special, what this team has put together and I think we've got great people in their right positions and me and Nico will continue to push the team forward, as will the boss of Mercedes who have been so committed and building the best engine. These guys know just as much as I do, it's been phenomenal this year. I think it's really important the steps we take moving forwards to continue improving and I 100 percent believe the team will do that. I'm looking forward to battling with people for sure but I do believe that we'll be there fighting with people hopefully for some time.

Prince Harry's called you a legend over the radio, you're now 10-1 to be knighted at the end of the year as well, the reaction to that please, and also on a serious note, what sort of calming influence has the Missus turning up had, and your Dad and your family. Just wondered how much that helped your mind? We knew you were a little bit edgy at the start of the week and just wondered if that did have an effect?

At the start of the week, I wasn't edgy; at the start of the week I was feeling really good coming here. I genuinely felt, when you saw me coming here on Thursday, I really did feel relaxed, practice was generally going well and qualifying was a little bit tougher and the pressure was increasing. I was messaging with my Dad last night and I went out to the beach and I was messaging with him and I said 'guys I would love you to be here but just know I'm here just working away. I'm not out having dinner or all these different things. I'm trying to make you proud.' Anyways, he turned up in the morning. He must have been at the airport while he was doing it. I think I was so focused this morning that it wasn't... when they came to surprise me, I wasn't that shocked or anything like that. I took it in my step but naturally, my family are the ones that got me into racing, they're the ones that sacrificed everything to get me to where I am today. Who you see today is because of them, so a reflection of them, so being here without them didn't feel right, naturally, because they have every right to be here to enjoy it with me, so I'm just grateful they were there. My Mum is at home, she wanted to come as well. I've got a big family but obviously I can't please everyone but I'm sure she'll come to many races next year.

Lewis, you've spoken a little bit about the part that Ross Brawn played in you entering this team. He's having a bit of a significant birthday today, I don't know if you know that. What sort of message have you got for him?

Yeah, I mean to Ross, to Norbert Haug, to Niki, to Dieter, to all the board members, the belief that they've had in me, particularly when I got into Formula One... I signed with McLaren and then Ron and Norbert gave the go-ahead for me to get the seat. Coming in to this team, as I said to you, Ross really sold it to me. He came with his laptop, sat and had tea with me which was just surreal to see because I've been watching TV for years, seeing the success that he had, thinking 'oh my God, Ross, he wants me. Before he wanted Michael and now he wants me' which is a very strange situation to be in and I'm forever grateful. I wish him a huge happy birthday. He invited me, obviously I'm here so can't go but I will definitely probably speak to him later today but I'm really grateful for him wanting me to be in the team and the other members really being so supportive to being in this team because they wanted to win and it felt that I would be a perfect fit. I think we've proved that he was right.

Lewis, you have just been nominated for Sports Personality of the Year; do you think you have a chance of winning that?

I'm more hoping that I get to go and see the Queen again!

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