Hamilton: F1 return at Abu Dhabi GP like "first day back to school"

Lewis Hamilton says his return to Formula 1 action at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix felt like the "first day back to school"

Hamilton: F1 return at Abu Dhabi GP like "first day back to school"

The F1 world champion only got the green light to race in Abu Dhabi on Thursday afternoon, after a number of successful negative tests for coronavirus and special permission allowed him to leave Bahrain and enter Abu Dhabi and the Yas Island 'biosphere'.

But he wasted little time in getting up to speed on his comeback, and ended Friday's second practice session at the Yas Marina Circuit just behind his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Speaking for the first time since he came back to the paddock, Hamilton told Sky Sports F1: "I was very, very happy and grateful this morning, just to be back here. And, obviously to be able to try and finish off the season strong, I was super excited.

"It felt like a first day back to school kind of thing. So it definitely took a minute to get back used to it for the first session, and then the second one, I think [I was] still getting my bearings, but not too bad.

"I think we got through most of the stuff we missed out in the 40-minute session [stop when his brakes were being fixed] at the start of the day, but otherwise got most of the stuff done."

Hamilton said he felt no pressure to need to come back for the final race of the season, having already won the championship, but said he was eager to enjoy one last outing this year.

"I just want to come here and enjoy it this weekend and enjoy what I do," he said. "It's been a huge amount of work from everyone back at the factories, and it's been a privilege to race with them this year.

"So we don't have anything to prove this weekend. I don't feel like I have anything to prove. Just here to have some fun."

Asked if it had felt strange to see George Russell racing his car in Bahrain last weekend, Hamilton praised the job that the young Briton did.

"I think George did an amazing job, and I think everyone knows that," he said. "I think it was definitely odd. And from my 27 years of racing, I've never missed a race. So yeah, one day, I'll write a book about it. But as I said, I'm just grateful to be back."

shares
comments
Mercedes: Mazepin omission from Abu Dhabi F1 test unrelated to video

Previous article

Mercedes: Mazepin omission from Abu Dhabi F1 test unrelated to video

Next article

F1 Abu Dhabi GP qualifying - Start time, how to watch & more

F1 Abu Dhabi GP qualifying - Start time, how to watch & more
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Author Jonathan Noble
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021