Hamilton confident ahead of championship showdown in Abu Dhabi

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Lewis Hamilton has said that he is feeling confident ahead of next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the F1 championship showdown, with his track record at Yas Marina suggesting he is the man to beat.

Hamilton enters the final race of the 2014 Formula 1 season with a 17-point lead over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, knowing that a second place finish in Abu Dhabi will give him a second world title.

The Briton won the race at Yas Marina in 2011 and also finished on the podium in 2010, but he has twice retired when leading the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (2009 and 2012).

Should Hamilton fail to see the checkered flag next weekend, it would almost certainly put paid to his championship hopes, but he remains relaxed and confident ahead of the final race of 2014.

“People talk about how long it’s been since I won the title, but I honestly feel like I’m fighting for my first world championship all over again,” Hamilton said. “Sure, I’m older and maybe a little bit wiser than I was back then. I’ve learnt a lot in the years since 2008, but I’m still the same driver. I still have the same hunger, the same will to win, and I’ve been giving it everything I’ve got from the word go this season.

“I’ve had ups and downs along the way, but I’ve never once given up. I’ve managed to fight my way back from whatever has come my way and my approach doesn’t change for this race.

“I’ve got a good record at the Abu Dhabi circuit. Last year was actually the only time I’ve not started on the front row or finished on the podium.

“But I’ve also had some misfortune there over the years – particularly in 2012. I’m hoping that bad luck won’t play a part this time around and I know that the team has been working flat out to make sure it doesn’t.

“I’m feeling relaxed, I’m feeling confident and I’m ready to win.”