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.”
Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.
The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.
“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.
“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.
“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”
The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.
Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.
Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.
McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.