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Lewis Hamilton's 2012 Formula 1 season in quotes

Lewis Hamilton

Despite finishing only fourth in the Formula 1 drivers' championship, Lewis Hamilton was one of the biggest stories of the 2012 season.

The 'will he/won't he' McLaren contract wrangle filled plenty of news outlets until his Mercedes deal was announced.

But aside from all that, Hamilton drove superbly through much of the year and, without points lost to unreliability and early-season pitstop blunders, would surely have been in the title hunt.

Lewis Hamilton: 2012 in quotes

"Last year I think I struggled to do 30 laps. We struggled to do 10 laps without the exhaust failing. So to do a whole day and to do 120 laps, I can't remember the last time I did that many laps. Definitely, we feel in a much more comfortable place and confident that we can be at the front fighting with the guys at the top."

Enjoying the improved pre-season testing compared to 2011's problems

"I haven't even got into thinking about it, to be honest. It's such an intense season and I've got to stay focused. If I take my eye off the ball to focus on that and lose points because of that, I wouldn't be able to forgive myself."

Telling AUTOSPORT early in the season that he's not concerned about a contract for 2013

Lewis Hamilton wins in Montreal, 2012"One of the most enjoyable races that I've had 'til now. I was just thinking today to finish at the front, as I did in my first win here in 2007, would be very, very special for me - which it has been. I couldn't believe it when I was coming across the line. That feeling inside, it's like an explosion. It's really just incredible."

Enjoying breaking his 2012 duck in Canada

"In a lot of other teams, the drivers get their original trophies. As a racing driver, what you work for and what you want to take home are two things; one is your crash helmet and the other is your trophy. For me, they are priceless."

Revealing why keeping his trophies was a stumbling block in a potential McLaren deal

"I could take the easy route and just stay here and just cruise on for the next three years in a great team and a great car, making decent money. But that's not what I want to do. I want to go and struggle. I want to help them get to the top and start winning. That's going to be the coolest, most satisfying feeling if we do get there. And if we don't I'll only be 31 at the end of it."

Relishing the struggle of making Mercedes a regular race-winner

"Just noticed @jensonbutton unfollowed, that's a shame. After three years as team-mates, I thought we respected one another but clearly he doesn't."

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson ButtonStirring up a Twitter-storm

"My bad. Just found out Jenson never followed me. Don't blame him!"

Trying to diffuse a Twitter-storm shortly after realising his mistake

"I had a few burgers last night so I was nice and heavy today! I tell you what, I'm so happy to be here. We've had such a great weekend. I actually don't really drink. I had a little bit of champagne, it doesn't really taste that good. Fernando [Alonso] said it was 7-Up or Sprite at the last race, it wasn't the same this time."

Enjoying himself after winning the first United States Grand Prix held at Austin

"I've made friendships here that I know will last for life. But life is about challenge. I don't so much feel like I'm leaving home to go to university, more that I'm leaving university to go to my first job. Mercedes will be a huge challenge, but I feel I'm ready for it."

Speaking after his final race for McLaren

"It is to do with the process of growing up, of leaving home. That's why I am taking the next step, to grow as a driver and as a human being."

Reflecting on the next step in his life

Lewis Hamilton

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