Lewis Hamilton revealed his final qualifying session in his 2018 car was an emotional experience after securing pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
As teams produce new cars for each Formula 1 season, qualifying in Abu Dhabi marked the last occasion that Hamilton would drive the title-winning W09 in its fastest specification. The five-time world champion rates this year’s car as the one he has the closest affinity with from his time in F1, and says that makes his 83rd pole position all the more special.
“It’s quite an emotional qualifying for me, because it’s the last time I’m going to be qualifying in this car,” Hamilton said. “I know you guys watch it, but the emotional rollercoaster I’ve gone through with this car… I’m probably the closest to this car than I’ve been with any car, emotionally attached.
“It’s not always been easy; it’s been a struggle with her, but it has been a real privilege to work with her this year and I’m just so grateful to the team, to everyone for putting it together, to my guys, these mechanics who have been me for what is it, the last three years or whatever it may be, for their diligence, the guys back at the factory, I’m really just so grateful for everyone.
“Today it was just so much fun. To go out there and be able to express yourself and to push the car the way you want, there’s no better feeling.”
The result was also Hamilton’s second consecutive pole position since wrapping up the drivers’ championship. He also won in Brazil — which was the first victory he’s ever had in F1 after winning the title early.
“I don’t think it’s because I couldn’t do it in the past, I just didn’t do the job. I think this year it was being in a different place in my life. I do want to continue to push the limits, push the boundaries and I wanted to finish the season on a solid high if I can. So that I can really continue to keep that foundation as strong as it has been this year so I can use that to start on next year.
“I think in the past it was still good. It was no biggie that I didn’t win after I won the championship but I’m definitely happy with how it’s going this year and there’s still a long race tomorrow, so still got a lot of work to do but really happy with today.”