World champion Lewis Hamilton believes 2019 was the best year of his career and attributes it to influences outside of Formula 1.
Hamilton won his sixth drivers’ championship at the United States Grand Prix, wrapping up the title with two races still remaining. Although he won in 2018 at the same point, Hamilton believes he was able to produce a similar level of performance on a consistent basis while dealing with challenges and other factors outside of racing this season, such as the deaths of F1 race director Charlie Whiting, Mercedes non-executive chaiman Niki Lauda and F2 racer Anthoine Hubert.
“I would say probably more the influences from outside is really what made the year the best,” Hamilton said. “The season as a whole was strong as the last as I remember. Qualifying wasn’t as strong this year but I was still qualifying front row or top three quite often, splitting the Ferraris when they all of a sudden had 30bhp more than anyone … but I think qualifying was still good but it was a harder car to drive I think this year.
“The races were particularly just as strong as last year. You see the qualifying, five (poles) to 10 or 11 (wins) I think it was. The races are really where the championship was won.
“But more so outside I’ve been happier — collaboration with the team, doors that have opened with the fashion that has been well-received, my fans have been amazing with it. Being able to do those things and it not be talked about too much in a sense of negative, it’s a distraction.
“But then also this year there’s quite a few people that we have lost so it’s been an emotional roller coaster, from race one to Monaco to Spa, which were quite big, big dents I think in the motorsport world and I think for everyone, they struggled with it.”
Hamilton says it should not be underestimated how impressive Mercedes has been to provide him with a title-winning car for so many consecutive seasons.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved as a team, proud of what we’ve done. To go into my seventh year with the team, and sixth year to fight for a world title and fight at the front and sustain the performance that we have, and then on the driver front I’m very happy. There’s areas I can improve on for sure but that will never change.”