Find out more about our subscriptions

Hamilton hails 'phenomenal' rookie season

Lewis Hamilton congratulates Kimi Raikkonen in BrazilLewis Hamilton hailed his rookie season in Formula One as 'phenomenal' and said he is confident of bouncing back from the disappointment of losing this year's world championship.

The young British sensation, who broke every record for a rookie driver in F1, held the points lead for most of the season and looked certain to become the youngest world champion ever before losing out by just one point in the season finale to Ferrari rival Kimi Raikkonen.

"Obviously I am pretty disappointed with the result today, having lead for so much of the season and then not to win the Championship," Hamilton commented.

"However, I have to put the result into perspective: this is only my first year in Formula One and overall it has just been phenomenal. I am still very young and have plenty more years in me to achieve my dream of becoming World Champion."

Hamilton also paid tribute to his McLaren team, stating: "I have to thank absolutely everyone in the team for everything they have done for me this year, without them and all their hard work I wouldn't have even been in this position today."

McLaren team boss Ron Dennis echoed his protege's words, saying: "Having fought a close and thrilling battle in the Drivers' Championship all year and then not to win it at the final hurdle is obviously extremely disappointing.

"However, we as a team can only feel very proud of all our achievements this season and the way in which we have conducted ourselves.

"To come into this championship showdown with two drivers both with a chance of winning is a testament to all the hard work and dedication everybody in the team has put in throughout this difficult year."

Mercedes-Benz motorsport chief Norbert Haug added: "Not the result today we wanted to achieve with both Lewis and Fernando having been so close to winning the World Championship.

"But even two times 109 points is not making up for 110. It hurts very much if you are missing just two points to win a Championship.

"However, I want to thank the entire team for their hard work during this season. It is sad for everybody in the team that we couldn't capitalise on our second chance following China.

"Congratulations to Kimi and Ferrari on winning the World Championship."

  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Paddock insight from group F1 editor Jonathan Noble
Grand Prix news updates from F1 editor Edd Straw
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed
Q & A with Lewis Hamilton
No reason to be downbeat, says Hamilton Sr
Stewart: Hamilton can afford to lose title