Lewis Hamilton wants to have another title battle with Ferrari in the future after beating Sebastian Vettel to secure his fourth drivers’ championship.
Ninth place in the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday was enough for Hamilton to take his fourth title, with Vettel unable to secure the top-two result he needed to have any chance of keeping the championship battle alive. Reflecting on each of his successes, Hamilton says this year feels like his first in 2008 – when he beat Felipe Massa at the final race – and it would be good for the sport if he faces more fights with Ferrari in the coming years.
“I think every one has been difficult, different in its own way,” Hamilton said. “Of course, if you look back to 2015, consistency was good and obviously it came in a different way. Still, I think individually, it felt challenging on a personal level – but I think this year is a championship of which I’ve been hoping for, a little bit like 2008, where you’re fighting another team, fighting this historic team, which Michael raced for and won championships in.
“Ferrari is… the red car… red’s my favorite color so it’s such a beautiful car to see on the track – but to fight it with a silver sword is, it’s like the master sword, you want to say.
“I’m really proud of that and to be able to battle someone else who is a four-time world champion, a proven world champion, who’s got great skill and a team also that knows how to win championships, to extract the most from my guys, to compete with that.
“That’s how every championship needs to be, and I hope there’s more championships like this one where we have this tough battle. I think every single year there’s going to be things that are [difficult]. Reliability is always a challenge, which has been exceptional, thanks to the team but fighting the other teams is what we want to see, I think what Formula 1 wants to see.
“I remember growing up watching Formula 1 and that’s what I wanted to see. So I’m sorry if the last couple of years weren’t the greatest for you but I hope this year was more exciting.”
While he was pushed hard by Vettel for the majority of the season, Hamilton secured the championship with two races to spare and insists he didn’t want to rely on a later round to confirm the title despite such a difficult race in Mexico.
“I hadn’t calculated what I needed to do or where Sebastian [needed]. Obviously at some stage they said that he had to finish second so then I’m like OK, I guess if I finish where I am that’s enough but for me that’s not enough. Backing off in a race is never fun, that’s why you see me battling Fernando [Alonso] at the end.
“I gave it everything, I took risks… a little bit more risk with him than I really needed to but hey man, it could be my last race so I was like I’m going to give it everything. I was pushing right to finish line and that’s something I love. I had no tires left. So there was never a moment that I thought to myself we’ll wait to Brazil.
“I think there was a moment for sure when it did dawn upon me that I may have to [wait]. I was like, we touched in Turn 3, it’s OK, I’ve got two more races and it’s not going to happen again, because I’ll put myself on pole and make sure I’m ahead, so it’s not close enough. But no, I just thought, keep going, keep giving it everything and keep rising.”